Child work is assumed to negatively affect children’s health and development including cognitive development. This paper explores the relationship between the daily hours a child spends working at age 11-12 years and their cognitive abilities at age 11-12 and 14-15. It considers an inclusive and a narrow definition of child work in order to compare the results that each produces.
Crude models suggested a negative association between the hours spent in both economic work and all work at age 11-12 years, and cognitive abilities at ages 11-12 and 14-15. However once adjusted for all covariates these associations become non-significant in three of the regression models, with the exception of the observed negative association between spending 1-2 hours per day in economic work in round 2 and PPVT score in round 3.
In general, the relationship between work and PPVT score exists because the children who work greater hours are poorer, and are therefore more likely to suffer from lower PPVT regardless of their work. Poverty therefore seems to be the driver of both child work and lower cognitive ability. However the observed association between spending 1-2 hours in economic work and lower PPVT suggests that there is some association between economic work and PPVT score that is not explained by socioeconomic covariates.
Sequeira, M. Is there an association between child work and cognitive ability? Evidencefrom Peru. (2013) 58 pp. [Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MSc in Demography and Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine]