Paddling the Pupils: The Legality (or Not) of Corporal Punishment in Schools
Posted: 2 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 30, 2019
Corporal punishment against children as a disciplinary tool in the classroom occurs in many countries, despite the 1990 adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and despite a surge in unpopularity of the practice. What accounts for the legality of corporal punishment in schools globally? In this paper, we offer one of the few cross-national analyses by examining factors associated with the use of corporal punishment in schools. Employing a dataset of 192 countries from 1970 to 2016, we find that while country ratification of the CRC often leads to subsequent bans of corporal punishment, common law countries are significantly less likely to ban corporal punishment in schools than their civil law counterparts. Additionally, countries where women are politically empowered are more likely to ban corporal punishment. These findings shed light on emerging international patterns in protection of the rights of children.
Keywords: CRC, corporal punishment, children, schools, gender, common law, civil law, child rights, discipline, classroom
JEL Classification: K36
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