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Does child labor always decrease with income ? an evaluation in the context of a development program in Nicaragua

  • Del Carpio, Ximena V.
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    This paper investigates the relationship of household income with child labor. The analysis uses a rich dataset obtained in the context of a conditional cash transfer program in a poor region of Nicaragua in 2005 and 2006. The program has a strong productive emphasis and seeks to diversify the work portfolio of beneficiaries while imposing conditionalities on the household. The author develops a simple model that relates child labor to household income, preferences, and production technology. It turns out that child labor does not always decrease with income; the relationship is complex and exhibits an inverted-U shape. Applying the data to the model confirms that the relationship is concave when all children (8-15 years of age) are included in the sample. Expanding the analysis by stratifying the sample by age and gender shows that the relationship holds only for older children, both genders. The author investigates the effect of the conditional cash transfer program on child labor. The results show that the program has a decreasing effect on total hours of work for the full sample of children. Disentangling labor into two types - physically demanding labor and non-physical labor - reveals that the program has opposite effects on each type; it decreases physically demanding labor while increasing participation in non-physical (more intellectually oriented) tasks for children.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4694.

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    Date of creation: 01 Aug 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4694
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    1. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Wendy Parker, 2001. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Their Impact on Child Work and Schooling: Evidence from the PROGRESA Program in Mexico," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, August.
    2. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-59, October.
    3. Hazarika, Gautam & Sarangi, Sudipta, 2008. "Household Access to Microcredit and Child Work in Rural Malawi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 843-859, May.
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    5. Bhalotra, Sonia & Heady, Christopher, 2001. "Child farm labour : the wealth paradox," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24088, The World Bank.
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    8. Attanasio, Orazio & Fitzsimons, Emla & Gomez, Ana & Lopez, Diana & Meghir, Costas & Mesnard, Alice, 2006. "Child Education and Work Choices in the Presence of a Conditional Cash Transfer Programme in Rural Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    10. Kaushik Basu & Sanghamitra Das & Bhaskar Dutta, 2007. "Child labor and household wealth: Theory and empirical evidence of an inverted-U," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 07-01, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
    11. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1994. "A Test for Moral Hazard in the Labor Market: Contractual Arrangements, Effort, and Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 213-27, May.
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    16. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Parker, Susan W., 2001. "Conditional cash transfers and their impact on child work and schooling," FCND briefs 123, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    17. Maluccio, John A. & Flores, Rafael, 2004. "Impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program," FCND discussion papers 184, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    18. Ponczek, Vladimir Pinheiro & Souza, André Portela Fernandes de, 2007. "The causal effect of family size on child labor and education," Textos para discussão 162, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    19. Eric Edmonds, 2006. "Understanding sibling differences in child labor," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 795-821, October.
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    22. 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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