Title

Child Labor and School Achievement in Latin America

Campus Units

Economics

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Submitted Manuscript

Publication Date

2006

Journal or Book Title

The World Bank Economic Review

Volume

20

Issue

1

First Page or Article ID Number

31

Last Page

54

DOI

10.1093/wber/lhj003

Abstract

Child labor’s effect on academic achievement is estimated using unique data on third and fourth graders in nine Latin-American countries. Cross-country variation in truancy regulations provides an exogenous shift in the ages of children normally in these grades, providing exogenous variation in the opportunity cost of children’s time. Least squares estimates suggest that child labor lowers test scores, but those estimates are biased toward zero. Corrected estimates are still negative and statistically significant. Children working 1 standard deviation above the mean have average scores that are 16 percent lower on mathematics examinations and 11 percent lower on language examinations, consistent with the estimates of the adverse impact of child labor on returns to schooling.

Comments

This is a working paper of an article from The World Bank Economic Review 20 (2006): 31, doi: 10.1093/wber/lhj003.