Explaining Variation in Child Labor Statistics

36 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Andrew Dillon

Andrew Dillon

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Elena Bardasi

World Bank

Kathleen Beegle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Pieter M. Serneels

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 1, 2010

Abstract

Child labor statistics are critical for assessing the extent and nature of child labor activities in developing countries. In practice, widespread variation exists in how child labor is measured. Questionnaire modules vary across countries and within countries over time along several dimensions, including respondent type and the structure of the questionnaire. Little is known about the effect of these differences on child labor statistics. This paper presents the results from a randomized survey experiment in Tanzania focusing on two survey aspects: different questionnaire design to classify children work and proxy response versus self-reporting. Use of a short module compared with a more detailed questionnaire has a statistically significant effect, especially on child labor force participation rates, and, to a lesser extent, on working hours. Proxy reports do not differ significantly from a child?s self-report. Further analysis demonstrates that survey design choices affect the coefficient estimates of some determinants of child labor in a child labor supply equation. The results suggest that low-cost changes to questionnaire design to clarify the concept of work for respondents can improve the data collected.

Keywords: Street Children, Labor Markets, Youth and Governance, Children and Youth, Labor Policies

Suggested Citation

Dillon, Andrew and Bardasi, Elena and Beegle, Kathleen and Serneels, Pieter M., Explaining Variation in Child Labor Statistics (September 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5414. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1673685

Andrew Dillon

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Elena Bardasi

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Kathleen Beegle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/kbeegle

Pieter M. Serneels

University of East Anglia (UEA) ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

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