Understanding Child Labor Beyond Poverty: The Structure of the Economy, Social Norms, and No Returns to Rural Basic Education
32 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2013
Child labor is pervasive across sub-Saharan Africa. The common assumption is that monetary poverty is its most important cause. This paper investigates this hypothesis with empirical evidence by exploring structural, geographic, monetary, demographic, cultural, seasonal and school-supply factors simultaneously that can influence child labor. It is a first attempt in the literature to combine quantitative with qualitative methods to identify a broader range of potential factors?on the demand- and supply-side and at the micro and macro levels?for why children work in agrarian economies like Ghana. Interviews with the Minister of Education and with children enrich the multivariate regression results. The multiple sources of child labor appear to include, in particular, the structure of the economy, social norms and no returns to rural basic education. Policy responses are outlined especially on the demand side that are needed to help reduce harmful child labor that affects children's education and later opportunities.
Keywords: Youth and Governance, Education For All, Street Children, Primary Education, Children and Youth
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