The Impact of Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Program on Schooling and Child Labor
24 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2009
Date Written: March 4, 2009
We investigate the impact of participation in the Public Works component of Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Program, the largest social protection program in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa, on schooling and child labor. Income from Public Works should reduce demand for child labor and increase schooling. However, Public Works labor requirements may induce a substitution of child labor for adult labor at home and in income-generating activities, possibly reducing schooling. Using matching estimators to identify program impacts, we find evidence of both processes at work. Results are presented by gender and by age cohorts because returns to schooling may differ by gender and the opportunity cost of schooling varies by gender and age of the child. We find that participation in Public Works leads to a moderate reduction in agricultural labor hours on average for boys age 6-16 years and a reduction in domestic labor hours for younger boys age 6-10 years. Boys in households receiving more regular transfers (at least 90 birr per member) show large increases in school attendance rates and, at the younger age, a significant reduction in total hours worked. When Public Works is coupled with agricultural packages designed to boost farm productivity, there are no affects on boys schooling and labor hours fall only for younger boys in domestic chores. For girls, measured effects are weaker, but differences emerge between younger (age 6-10) and older (age 11-16) girls. Younger girls experience worse outcomes, with lower school attendance on average and increases in child labor in households participating in PW and the OFSP. Older girls benefit, with a reduction in labor hours on average and an increase in school attendance in households receiving larger transfers.
Keywords: Child labor, schooling, Ethiopia, Productive Safety Nets Programme
JEL Classification: I20, I38, J22, O15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation