Health Effects of Children’s Work: Evidence from Vietnam

Understanding Children's Work Programme Working Paper, April 2003

38 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2011 Last revised: 8 Mar 2011

See all articles by O. O'Donnell

O. O'Donnell

University of Macedonia

Eddy van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics

Furio C. Rosati

United Nations - UCW Program; University of Rome Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: April 2003

Abstract

We test whether work in childhood impacts on health. We focus on agricultural work, the dominant form of child work worldwide. Data are from the Vietnam Living Standards Survey, 1992-93 and 1997-98. We correct for both unobservable heterogeneity and simultaneity biases. Instruments include small area labour market and education conditions obtained from community level surveys. We use three indicators of health: body mass index; reported illness; and, height growth. There is clear evidence of a healthy worker selection effect. We find little evidence of a contemporaneous impact of child work on health but work undertaken during childhood raises the risk of illness up to five years later and the risk is increasing with the duration of work. There is no evidence that work impedes the growth of the child.

Keywords: child labour, health, agricultural work, healthy worker selection effect, Vietnam

JEL Classification: J13, I1, Q12, J28

Suggested Citation

O'Donnell, O. and van Doorslaer, Eddy and Rosati, Furio C., Health Effects of Children’s Work: Evidence from Vietnam (April 2003). Understanding Children's Work Programme Working Paper, April 2003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1780313 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1780313

O. O'Donnell (Contact Author)

University of Macedonia

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Eddy Van Doorslaer

Erasmus School of Economics ( email )

Netherlands

Furio C. Rosati

United Nations - UCW Program ( email )

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University of Rome Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics ( email )

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