ERIC Number: ED437243
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-May
Reference Count: N/A
Does Child Labor Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioral Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy. Policy Research Working Papers No. 2116.
Ravallion, Martin; Wodon, Quentin
This paper examines whether children sent to work in rural Bangladesh are caught in a "poverty trap," with the extra income from child labor coming at the expense of the children's longer-term prospects of escaping poverty through education. The poverty trap argument depends on children's work being substitutable for schooling. Casual observations and descriptive statistics from surveys seem to offer little support for the argument. Bangladesh's Food-for-Education program is targeted at poor rural families and offers a food stipend in exchange for children's school attendance (at least 85 percent of classes each month). The stipend has a value considerably less than the mean child wage, yet was enough to ensure nearly full attendance among participants. The enrollment subsidy also reduced the incidence of child labor, but that effect accounted for only a small proportion of the increase in school enrollment. The reduction in the incidence of child labor represented about one-quarter of the increase of boys' enrollment rate and about one-eighth of the increase of girls' enrollment rate. The findings do not address whether work displaces other student activities such as doing homework or attending after-school tutorials, nor whether work provides other welfare losses or gains. Nevertheless, the results do question the common view that child labor is a major factor in perpetuating poverty in Bangladesh. (Contains 22 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Attendance, Child Labor, Elementary Education, Enrollment, Enrollment Influences, Family Income, Foreign Countries, Incentives, Poverty, Rural Youth
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: World Bank, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Bangladesh