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Child labor, schooling, and child ability

  • Akresh, Richard
  • Bagby, Emilie
  • de Walque, Damien
  • Kazianga, Harounan

Using data collected in rural Burkina Faso, this paper examines how children's cognitive abilities influence households'decisions to invest in their education. To address the endogeneity of child ability measures, the analysis uses rainfall shocks experienced in utero or early childhood to instrument for ability. Negative shocks in utero lead to 0.24 standard deviations lower ability z-scores, corresponding with a 38 percent enrollment drop and a 49 percent increase in child labor hours compared with their siblings. Negative education impacts are largest for in utero shocks, diminished for shocks before age two, and have no impact for shocks after age two. The paper links the fetal origins hypothesis and sibling rivalry literatures by showing that shocks experienced in utero not only have direct negative impacts on the child's cognitive ability (fetal origins hypothesis), but also negatively impact the child through the effects on sibling rivalry resulting from the cognitive differences.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5965.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5965
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  1. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2011. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Working Papers 2011-007, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  2. Ana Dammert, 2010. "Siblings, child labor, and schooling in Nicaragua and Guatemala," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 199-224, January.
  3. Harounan Kazianga, 2004. "Schooling Returns for Wage Earners in Burkina Faso: Evidence from the 1994 and 1998 National Surveys," Working Papers 892, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Beegle, Kathleen & Dehejia, Rajeev H & Gatti, Roberta, 2004. "The Education, Labour Market and Health Consequences of Child Labour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4443, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Bundervoet, Tom & Verwimp, Philip & Akresh, Richard, 2007. "Health and Civil War in Rural Burundi," IZA Discussion Papers 2951, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Akresh, Richard & Bagby, Emilie & de Walque, Damien & Kazianga, Harounan, 2010. "Child ability and household human capital investment decisions in Burkina Faso," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5370, The World Bank.
  7. Masako Ota & Peter Moffatt, 2007. "The within-household schooling decision: a study of children in rural Andhra Pradesh," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 223-239, February.
  8. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & Weel, Bas ter, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," MERIT Working Papers 010, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  9. Ozier, Owen, 2014. "Exploiting externalities to estimate the long-term effects of early childhood deworming," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7052, The World Bank.
  10. Tania Barham, 2012. "Enhancing Cognitive Functioning: Medium-Term Effects of a Health and Family Planning Program in Matlab," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 245-73, January.
  11. Edmonds, Eric V., 2007. "Child Labor," IZA Discussion Papers 2606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Paul J. Devereux & Sandra E. Black & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The more the merrier? The effect of family size and birth order on children's education," Open Access publications 10197/310, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  14. Levison, Deborah & Moe, Karine S. & Marie Knaul, Felicia, 2001. "Youth Education and Work in Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 167-188, January.
  15. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Zhang, Junsen, 2006. "Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birthweight, and China's 'One Child' Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 2082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Sharon Maccini & Dean Yang, 2009. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1006-26, June.
  17. Aizer, Anna, 2004. "Home alone: supervision after school and child behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1835-1848, August.
  18. Emerson, Patrick M. & Souza, André Portela, 2008. "Birth Order, Child Labor, and School Attendance in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1647-1664, September.
  19. Richard Akresh & Eric V. Edmonds, 2011. "Residential Rivalry and Constraints on the Availability of Child Labor," NBER Working Papers 17165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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