Schooling costs and child work in rural Pakistan

Gautam Hazarika, Arjun S. Bedi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


A conventional argument in the child-labour debate is that improvements in access to schools are an effective way to reduce the labour force participation of children. It is argued that schooling competes with economic activity in the use of children's time, and enhanced access to schools, interpretable as reduction in schooling costs, may raise school attendance at the expense of child labour. In this article, we draw a distinction between child labour within the household (intra-household) and child work in the labour market (extra-household), and examine the separate effects of schooling costs upon these two types of child labour in rural Pakistan. Consistent, at least in part, with our theoretical framework, we find that extra-household child labour and schooling costs are positively related whereas intra-household child labour is insensitive to changes in the costs of schooling. Our results suggest that reduction in schooling costs will have limited success in the abatement of child labour in rural Pakistan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-64
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003


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