Women's Employment and its Relation to Children's Health and Schooling in Developing Countries: Conceptual Links, Empirical Evidence, and Policies

Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper No. 131

52 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2003

Date Written: September 2002

Abstract

This paper reviews several decades of empirical research on the effects of women's work on investments in children's human capital - their nutrition and schooling - in developing countries. No clear relationship between women's work and nutrition emerges from a large body of studies examining this issue, but this is to be expected given the complexity of the relationship and the wide variation in methodological approaches. However, specific factors, such as quality of substitute care and age of the child, condition the relationship and point to areas where policy can intervene to prevent negative nutritional outcomes or enhance positive outcomes of maternal work. Less research has been done on the subject of women's work and children's schooling, but there is evidence that there can be negative effects on girl's education because daughters are often obliged to substitute in the home for mothers who work. The paper considers a range of policies (including, in particular, childcare) that can reduce the potential conflicts, or increase the complementarities, between women's need or desire to work and their children's well-being. Also discussed are trends in developing economies and in the global economy that are affecting women's work and its relation to children's welfare, as well as affecting the ability of governments to intervene to ease the domestic constraints on women.

Keywords: child care, nutrition, time allocation and labor supply, education, economics of gender

JEL Classification: I12, J13, J22, I2, J16

Suggested Citation

Glick, Peter, Women's Employment and its Relation to Children's Health and Schooling in Developing Countries: Conceptual Links, Empirical Evidence, and Policies (September 2002). Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper No. 131, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=424101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.424101

Peter Glick (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

1200 South Hayes Street
Arlington, VA 22202
United States

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