Child labour and schooling in West Africa : a three country study
Although child labour has been around since ever, it is only recently that the topic has captured economists' consideration. Theoretical contributions to its understanding are only starting to be published. Most researchers have concentrated their energy on empirical studies based on utility-maximising framework. This thesis would hopefully contribute to this understanding throught statistical evidences from three West African coastal countries: Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Benin. In this thesis, school attendance is examined in as much details as child labour. In the African context where almost all child labour occurred within family enterprises, child labour would be judged foremost by its deterrent effect on human capital-building activities. Using fully comparable datasets, we first analyse and compare our Ghanaian and Ivorian findings. These two neighbouring countries could be seen as participants in a "natural experiment" since they share similar ecological, ethnographic and geographical environments but differ on one extremely important point, their modern institutions, especially their schooling systems inherited from their respective former colonial powers. We would see how different education systems shape not only schooling behaviour, but child labour force levels and characteristics. Then, using a completely different type of household survey, we will analyse child's allocation of time in a broader framework in which we have information on hours spent on an exhausitive list of activities, including time spent on home study. These detailed data would enable us to examine to which extent child labour has a deterrent effect not only schooling participation, but also on the human capital-enhancing home study.