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How child labor and child schooling interact with adult labor

  • Ray, Ranjan

Using data from Peruvian and Pakistani household surveys, the author tests the hypotheses of a positive association between child labor hours and poverty and a negative association between child schooling and poverty. Both hypotheses are confirmed using Pakistani data but not using Peruvian data. What explains these divergent results? The link between household poverty and child labor is much stronger in Pakistan than in Peru - perhaps partly because Pakistani schools are not as good as those in Peru, and perhaps partly because Pakistani families value education less, especially for girls. Also, Peruvian children combine schooling with employment, unlike Pakistani children. Rising wages for men significantly reduce the labor hours of Peruvian girls. Strong complementarity exists between the labor market for women and that for girls in Pakistan. Providing good schools in South Asia could help reduce child labor and break the strong link there between poverty and hours spent in child labor. Data from both countries confirm the positive role more adult education can play in improving child welfare. Adult education's impact on child labor is considerably greater in Pakistan than in Peru. One generation's lack of skills and education causes the next to remain un-educated and unskilled as well.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2179.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2179
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  1. Ranjan Ray, 2000. "Analysis of child labour in Peru and Pakistan: A comparative study," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 3-19.
  2. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  3. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  4. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  5. Lancaster, Geoffrey & Ray, Ranjan & Valenzuela, Maria Rebecca, 1999. "A Cross-Country Study of Household Poverty and Inequality on Unit Record Household Budget Data," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 177-208, October.
  6. Charles Diamond & Tammy Fayed, 1998. "Evidence on substitutability of adult and child labour," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 62-70.
  7. Jensen, P. & Nielsen, H.S., 1996. "Child Labour or School Attendance? Evidence from Zambia," Papers 96-14, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  8. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  9. Alderman, Harold, et al, 1995. "Unitary versus Collective Models of the Household: Is It Time to Shift the Burden of Proof?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-19, February.
  10. Ray, Ranjan, 1983. "Measuring the costs of children : An alternative approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 89-102, October.
  11. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Kanbur, Ravi, 1993. "Unitary versus collective models of the household : time to shift theburden of proof?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1217, The World Bank.
  12. Sonia Bhalotra, 2003. "Child Labour in Africa," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 4, OECD Publishing.
  13. Grosh, M.E. & Glewwe, P., 1995. "A Guide to Living Standards Measurement Study Surveys and their Data Sets," Papers 120, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  14. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 1997. "Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru - An empirical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405.
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