Abstract

This study analyzes the relationship between school quality and child labor in Senegal. Unlike previous studies that consider child labor as primarily due to household poverty, economic shocks or market imperfections, it tries to assess whether the perceptions that households have about the capacity of investments in education to provide their children with a significant gain can motivate their interest or their disinterest to send them to school and / or to involve them immediately into work. From a simple theoretical model we develop, we show how school quality may influence the choices that households make for their children concerning schooling or labor. We then assess empirically that relationship using the Senegal's DHS-MICS data of 2010-2011 and the Statistical Yearbook of the Ministry of National Education. The Heckman's two-step model combined with the two-step approach proposed in Card and Krueger (1992) have been employed to deal with the problems suggested by the theoretical model. Our empirical findings confirm the theoretical model's results. They indicate that the labor options that households make for their children in Senegal depend on the schools' characteristics in this country. More precisely, we find that an increase of the pupils-teacher ratio and of the rate of grade repetition, seems be considered by households as a signal of bad quality of school. They lead respectively to an increase of the burden of works performed by children in economic and domestic activities.

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