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Home Publications The impact of child work on cognitive development: results from four Low to Middle Income countries

The impact of child work on cognitive development: results from four Low to Middle Income countries

Michael P Keane, Sonya Krutikova and Timothy Neal
IFS Working Paper W18/29

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.