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J Popul Econ. 1997;10(4):387-405.

Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru -- an empirical analysis.



Many children in developing countries work outside of school regardless of their school enrollment status. Such work in itself is not damaging to children, but the conditions in which children work may be of concern. However, prohibiting child labor without first raising the income of the poor will create an even worse situation, forcing even more children into poverty. In addition to poverty, family size is thought to be a determining factor in the decision to enrol in school. That is, the larger the family, the lower the probability that a child is in school. The authors investigated children's work activities and schooling performance using data from the 1991 Peru Living Standards Survey (PLSS). Ethnic characteristics of the population are considered, as are aspects of the family, including its size, and the age structure and activities of the child's siblings. The analysis produces evidence of the importance of family size and the importance of considering siblings' activities. The number of siblings not enrolled in school is an important control variable in at least one specification of the empirical model. More research is needed on the interactions between siblings, their activities, and their age structure. Having a greater number of younger siblings implies less schooling, more age-grade distortion in the classroom, and more child labor.

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