In this study, I examine the extent to which child labour is explained by the main determinants proposed in the literature. I focus on three determinants: income shocks, household composition and parental preferences. In addition, I examine the role of child-specific characteristics, such as psycho-social abilities and nutritional endowment. While there is extensive literature on child labour determinants, it is predominantly theoretical and tends to treat each determinant in isolation from the others. I use two rounds of data from the Young Lives project on a cohort of children living in Andhra Pradesh, India who were interviewed at the ages of 7 and then 11 to examine the effects of inter- and intra-household factors – as well as child-specific characteristics – on child labour in a unified empirical framework. I find that children work more in response to income shocks; that child labour is sensitive to household composition in terms of the age and gender of the other children; and, in urban areas, that it varies according to the bargaining power of women in the household. Investigation of child-specific fixed effects further suggests that nutritional status, reading skills and ability to get along with peers may also be relevant to whether and how much children work.
A separate 1-page Research Summary, which presents the main findings and policy implications of the Working Paper in easily understood language, is also attached.
Krutikova, S. Working Paper 48. Determinants of Child Labour: The Case of Andhra Pradesh. (2009) 36 pp. ISBN 978-1-904427-53-7