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Household and Context Determinants of Child Labor in 221 Districts of 18 Developing Countries
Authors: Ellen Webbink, Jeroen Smits, and Eelke de Jong
Source: Social Indicators Research, 110(2): 819-836; doi:10.1007/s11205-011-9960-0
Topic(s): Child labor
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: JAN 2013
Abstract: We develop a new theoretical framework that explains the engagement in child labor of children in developing countries. This framework distinguishes three levels (household, district and nation) and three groups of explanatory variables: Resources, Structure and Culture. Each of the three groups refers to another strand of the literature; economics, sociology and anthropology. The framework is tested by applying multilevel analysis on data for 239,120 children living in 221 districts of 18 developing countries. This approach allows us to simultaneously investigate effects of household and context factors. At the household level, we find that resources and structural characteristics influence child labor, whereas cultural characteristics have no effect. With regard to context factors, we find that children work more in rural areas, especially if there are more unskilled manual jobs, and in more traditional urban areas. In more developed regions, girls tend to work significantly less. Keywords Child labor, Developing countries, District characteristics, Household characteristics