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

Produced by: 
Institute for Fiscal Studies
Available from: 
August 2018
Paper author(s): 
Michael Keane
Sonya Krutikova
Timothy Neal
Education - Health
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness

We study the relationship between child work and cognitive development in four Low and Middle Income Countries. We address a key weakness in the literature by including children’s full time-use vector in the analysis, which leads to different findings from previous studies which do not distinguish between alternative counter-factual activities. We find child work is only detrimental if it crowds out school/study time rather than leisure. Furthermore, the marginal effects of substituting domestic chores or economic activities for school/study time are similar. Thus, policies to enhance child development should target a shift from all forms of work toward educational activities.


Research section: 
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