Child Labor, Schooling, and Child Ability

43 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016  

Richard Akresh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Emilie Bagby

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Damien de Walque

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

Harounan Kazianga

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater

Date Written: February 1, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Youth and Governance, Educational Sciences, Street Children, Primary Education, Children and Youth

Suggested Citation

Akresh, Richard and Bagby, Emilie and de Walque, Damien and Kazianga, Harounan, Child Labor, Schooling, and Child Ability (February 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5965. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2002614

Richard Akresh (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Emilie Bagby

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Damien De Walque

World Bank ( email )

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

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

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

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

Harounan Kazianga

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater ( email )

Stillwater, OK 74078-0555
United States

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