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Explaining Variation in Child Labor Statistics

Andrew Dillon, Elena Bardasi (), Kathleen Beegle and Pieter Serneels ()
Additional contact information
Elena Bardasi: World Bank

No 5156, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Child labor statistics are critical for assessing the extent and nature of child labor activities in developing countries. In practice, widespread variation exists in how child labor is measured. Questionnaire modules vary across countries and within countries over time along several dimensions, including respondent type and the structure of the questionnaire. Little is known about the effect of these differences on child labor statistics. This paper presents the results from a randomized survey experiment in Tanzania focusing on two survey aspects: different questionnaire design to classify children work and proxy response versus self-reporting. Use of a short module compared with a more detailed questionnaire has a statistically significant effect, especially on child labor force participation rates, and, to a lesser extent, on working hours. Proxy reports do not differ significantly from a child’s self-report. Further analysis demonstrates that survey design choices affect the coefficient estimates of some determinants of child labor in a child labor supply equation. The results suggest that low-cost changes to questionnaire design to clarify the concept of work for respondents can improve the data collected.

Keywords: child labor; survey design; Tanzania (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C81 C93 J21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2010-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab
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Published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2012, 98 (1),136-147

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Journal Article: Explaining variation in child labor statistics (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Explaining variation in child labor statistics (2010) Downloads
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