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Child Labor and Schooling Decisions among Self-Help Group Members in Rural India

Abstract : This paper investigates the impact of informal microfinance groups (self-help groups, or SHGs) on children’s education and work in rural India. In 2002, 24 eligible villages were randomly selected for opening SHGs, and 12 others were randomly selected as a control group. Households were surveyed three times over a 5-year period, allowing for the study of medium-term outcomes. We find a robust and strong increase in secondary school enrollment rates over time, with intention-to-treat estimates of about 40%. This effect stems from a quicker grade progression, leading to lower dropout rates between primary and secondary school. Contrary to usual presumptions, we find no decrease in overall child labor (but a reorientation toward part-time domestic work) and no direct role of credit. By contrast, we show that social interactions within SHGs are very important.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 4:16:03 PM
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Jean-Marie Baland, Timothée Demont, Rohini Somanathan. Child Labor and Schooling Decisions among Self-Help Group Members in Rural India. Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, 2020, 69 (1), pp.73-105. ⟨10.1086/703046⟩. ⟨hal-03137773⟩



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