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Child labor in Cote d'Ivoire: incidence and determinants

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  • Grootaert, Christiaan
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    Child labor in Cote d'Ivoire increased in the 1980s because of a severe economic crisis. Two out of three urban children aged 7 to 17 work; half of them also attend school. In rural areas, more than four out of five children work, but only a third of them manage to combine work with schooling. Full-time work is less prevalent, but not negligible. Roughly 7 percent of urban children work full time (an average 46 hours a week). More than a third of rural children work full time (an average of 35 hours a week), with the highest incidence in the Savannah region. The incidence of such full-time work rises with age but is by no means limited to older children. The average age of the full-time child worker in Cote d'Ivoire is 12.7. These children have received an average 1.2 years of schooling. That child is also more likely to be ill or injured and is less likely to receive medical attention than other children. Urban children in the interior cities are far more likely to work and their working hours are much longer. Among rural children, those in the Savannah region (where educational infrastructure lags far behind the rest of the country) are most likely to work. Five factors affect a household's decision to supply child labor: a) The age and gender of the child (girls are more likely to work, especially when the head of household is a woman). b) The education and employment status of the parents (low parental education is good targeting variable for interventions). c) The availability of within-household employment opportunities. d) The household's poverty status. e) The household's location (calling for geographical targeting). With improved macroeconomic growth, it is hoped, child labor will decline -- but a significant decline could take several generations. Meanwhile, it is important to: i) Use a gradual approach toward the elimination of child work by aiming initial interventions at facilitating combined work and schooling. ii) Support the development of home enterprises as part of poverty alleviation programs, but combine it with incentives for school attendance. iii) Make school hours and vacation periods flexible (accommodating harvest times) in rural areas. This would also improve children's health. iv) Improve rural school attendance by having a school in the village rather than 1 to 5 kilometers away. v) Improve educational investment in the Savannah.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1905.

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    Date of creation: 31 Mar 1998
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1905
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    1. Levy, Victor, 1985. "Cropping Pattern, Mechanization, Child Labor, and Fertility Behavior in a Farming Economy: Rural Egypt," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 777-791, July.
    2. Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Coulombe, Harold, 1997. "Child labor and schooling in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1844, The World Bank.
    3. Grootaert, Christiaan & Kanbur, Ravi, 1995. "Child labor : a review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1454, The World Bank.
    4. Peter Jensen & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 1997. "Child labour or school attendance? Evidence from Zambia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 407-424.
    5. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 1997. "Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru - An empirical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405.
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