Africa and Asia in Comparative Development

Type Book Section - Child Activities in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa: A Comparative Analysis
Title Africa and Asia in Comparative Development
Edition P. Lawrence and C. Thirtle
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2001
Publisher Macmillan
City London
This paper profiles child activities in the rural areas of Ghana and Pakistan using large nationally representative household survey data that use comparable definitions in the two countries. The data refer to 7-14 year olds in Ghana and 10-14 year olds in Pakistan. School enrollment rates for Ghanaian boys and girls and Pakistani boys are between 70-80%. However, a Pakistani girl is less than half as likely as the other children in the sample to be at school. Children in Ghana do not work for wages but, in Pakistan, 6% of boys and 12% of girls are in fairly full-time wage labour, to the clear neglect of schooling. Just more than a third of children in both countries are engaged in work on the household farm or enterprise. There is great variation in their hours of work but they average to approximately half-time levels. In both countries, there is evidence that own-farm work lowers school attainment though self-employment and school are more easily combined by children in Ghana than in Pakistan. A substantial fraction of children in both countries are neither in work nor in school, and this fraction is especially large amongst girls. The presence of this group indicates that child labour is not the only barrier to child schooling. We compare the determinants of child labour in the two countries, including household living standards, household human capital and demographics, and community-level data on schools and infrastructure. The data describe prominent differences in the environment that children grow up in. We then present a summary of the determinants of the variation in child work across households within each country. Interesting contrasts across country and gender are highlighted.

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