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Child labor, schooling, and child ability (English)

Using data collected in rural Burkina Faso, this paper examines how children's cognitive abilities influence households' decisions to invest in their education. To address the endogeneity of child ability measures, the analysis uses rainfall shocks experienced in utero or early childhood to instrument for ability. Negative shocks in utero lead to 0.24 standard deviations lower ability z-scores, corresponding with a 38 percent enrollment drop and a 49 percent increase in child labor hours compared with their siblings. Negative education impacts are largest for in utero shocks, diminished for shocks before age two, and have no impact for shocks after age two. The paper links the fetal origins hypothesis and sibling rivalry literatures by showing that shocks experienced in utero not only have direct negative impacts on the child's cognitive ability (fetal origins hypothesis), but also negatively impact the child through the effects on sibling rivalry resulting from the cognitive differences.


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    Akresh, Richard Bagby, Emilie de Walque, Damien Kazianga, Harounan

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    Policy Research Working Paper

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    The World Region,

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    Child labor, schooling, and child ability

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    child labor;cognitive ability;primary school age child;nutrition and health care;household fixed effect;standard deviation;sibling rivalry;net enrollment rate;child labor hour;per capita expenditure;return to education;average treatment effect;development research group;Public Services;number of siblings;household head age;child cognitive development;human capital investment;achievement test score;shock and child;social protection strategy;geographic information system;sub-groups of children;household survey data;complete primary school;children under age;social protection program;food and nutrition;health and nutrition;problem solving ability;early childhood year;human capital accumulation;primary school education;problem solving skill;majority of children;free primary education;HIV and AIDS;rural primary school;division of labor;instrumental variable;negative shock;children of ages;start school;parental investment;biological child;farm labor;unequal investment;alternative specification;rainfall data;labor outcomes;vulnerable family;fetching water;demographic characteristic;enrollment outcome;school enrollment;annual rainfall;education outcome;exclusion restriction;point estimate;young child;limited resources;long-term impact;long-term effect;causal relationship;Child Health;school decision;family farm;home production;educational investment;age range;subsistence farmer;empirical result;rainfall pattern;standard error;birth order;school lunch;scarce resource;household factor;negative correlation;study area;Cash Transfer;children's nutrition;child nutrition;healthy development;family size;household size;birth history;household expenditure;poor household;household characteristic;selection bias;Civil War;limited information;brain development;school investment;land transaction;family characteristic;household crop;potential threat;school result;birth weight;positive shock;nutritional supplementation;gender difference;birth certificate;household level;agricultural activity;individual characteristic;idiosyncratic error;child schooling;school schedule;school hour;domestic work;negative effect;risky behavior;local food;school day;survey instrument;average age;community response;development policy;open access;extended family;legal guarantee;african children;interview time;verbal skill;old children;average score;summary statistic;research assistance;formal schooling;collected information;endogenous variable;micronutrient deficiency;behavioral model;credit constraint;iodine supplementation;investment return;comparative advantage;school year;food scarcity;school-age child;gender bias;empirical approaches;traditional model;parental preference;labor activity;rural setting;family composition;baseline analysis;domestic household;exogenous shock;empirical research;opportunity cost;future earnings;0 hypothesis;rainfall fluctuations;causal impact;consistent estimate;robustness check;previous work;rural village;accurate estimate;marital status;



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Akresh, Richard Bagby, Emilie de Walque, Damien Kazianga, Harounan

Child labor, schooling, and child ability (English). Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 5965 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.