The Impact of Child Work on Cognitive Development: Results from Four Low to Middle Income Countries

54 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2020

See all articles by Michael P. Keane

Michael P. Keane

University of New South Wales

Sonya Krutikova

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Timothy Neal

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Date Written: October 20, 2020

Abstract

We study the impact of child work on cognitive development in four Low- and Middle-Income Countries. We advance the literature by using cognitive test scores collected regardless of school attendance. We also address a key gap in the literature by controlling for children’s complete time allocation budget. This allows us to estimate effects of different types of work, like chores and market/farm work, relative to specific alternative time-uses, like school or study or play/leisure. Our results show child work is more detrimental to child development to the extent that it crowds out school/study time rather than leisure. We also show the adverse effect of time spent on domestic chores is similar to time spent on market and farm work, provided they both crowd out school/study time. Thus, policies to enhance child development should target a shift from all forms of work toward educational activities.

Keywords: Child labor, Child development, Education; Time use, Item response theory, Value added models

JEL Classification: I25, J13, J24, O15

Suggested Citation

Keane, Michael P. and Krutikova, Sonya and Neal, Timothy, The Impact of Child Work on Cognitive Development: Results from Four Low to Middle Income Countries (October 20, 2020). UNSW Economics Working Paper 2020-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3715593 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3715593

Michael P. Keane (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales ( email )

Sydney, NSW
Australia

Sonya Krutikova

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Timothy Neal

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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