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Cash Transfers, Microentrepreneurial Activity, and Child Work: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia

AUTHOR(S)
Jacobus de Hoop, Valeria Groppo, Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2019
Cash transfer programs are rapidly becoming a key component of the social safety net of many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary aim of these programs is to help households improve their food security and to smooth consumption during periods of economic duress. However, beneficiary households have also been shown to use these programs to expand their microentrepreneurial activities. Cluster-randomized trials carried out during the rollout of large-scale programs in Malawi and Zambia show that children may increase their work in the household enterprise through such programs. Both programs increased forms of work that may be detrimental to children, such as activities that expose children to hazards in Malawi and excessive working hours in Zambia. However, both programs also induced positive changes in other child well-being domains, such as school attendance and material well-being, leading to a mixed and inconclusive picture of the implications of these programs for children.
The Role of Productive Activities in the Lives of Adolescents: Photovoice Evidence from Malawi

AUTHOR(S)
Susannah Zietz, Jacobus de Hoop, Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2018
Adolescence is an important transitional period, separate from both childhood and adulthood. Critical physical and mental development occurs during adolescence, including emotional skills, physical, and mental abilities. Behaviors adopted during this lifecourse period have critical implications for adolescents' future health and well-being. The main research question of the present study is: what is the role of productive activities in the lives and development of adolescents in rural Malawi? As part of this study, selected adolescents from poor rural households were asked to take photographs of their daily (productive) activities. These photographs served as a starting point for focus group discussions. In addition to including adolescents, we conducted qualitative interviews with caregivers and teachers to triangulate and obtain a more holistic understanding of adolescent engagement in productive activities. The main themes that emerged were that 1) the work that is conducted by adolescent boys and girls inside and outside the household is not only perceived by adolescents as a product of poverty, but as a point of pride, as well as a potential means of providing for one's future, 2) there is a tension between the needs of the family and schooling, and 3) adolescent productive activities are associated with minor although not negligible hazards and injuries. We discuss that these qualitative findings help to better understand how social protection interventions, such as Malawi's Social Cash Transfer Program, may affect adolescent engagement in work and adolescent wellbeing more generally.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 246-255 | Tags: child labour, child well-being
Effects of Public Policy on Child Labor: Current Knowledge, Gaps, and Implications for Program Design

AUTHOR(S)
Ana C. Dammert, Jacobus de Hoop, Eric Mvukiyehe, Furio Camillo Rosati

Published: 2018
Household decisions about child labor are influenced by income, uncertainty, and relative returns to work and education. The complexity of the phenomenon implies that a large set of policy instruments can be used to address child labor or can affect child labor. This review of 33 impact evaluations provides a comprehensive look at pathways through which social protection (credit and microfinance, cash transfers, vouchers, food programs), and labor programs affect child labor. Despite the complexity of integrating findings across different child labor definitions, implementation contexts, and policy instruments, some patterns emerge. For example, programs that address child labor by reducing the vulnerability of the household produce the desired effect. Transfers reduced child labor in most cases. Similarly, programs that help the household cope with exposure to risk, for example, health insurance, reduce household reliance on child labor. On the other hand, policies aimed at increasing adult household members’ participation in the labor market or entrepreneurial activities, can generate demand for adolescent and child work. Of course, such programs are an important component of anti-poverty strategies, but they could be modified and integrated with additional interventions to ensure that they do not produce adverse effects on child labor. While progress has been made over the past decade, there is still much to learn about the effects of public policy on the labor participation of many children in developing countries
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 104-123 | Tags: child labour, household income
The impact of Zambia’s unconditional child grant on schooling and work: results from a large-scale social experiment

AUTHOR(S)
Sudhanshu Handa, Luisa Natali, David Seidenfeld, Gelson Tembo

Published: 2016
This article reports on the impact on child schooling and work of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program (CGP), an unconditional cash transfer programme targeted to households with children under age 3 years in three districts of the country. Although the CGP’s focus is on very young children, we look to see if the programme has impacts on older children who are not the explicit target group. We use data from a large-scale social experiment involving 2519 households, half of whom were randomised out to a delayed-entry control group, that was implemented to assess the impact of the programme. We find that the CGP has no discernible impact on school enrolment of children age 7–14. However, when we break the sample by older (11–14) and younger (7–10) children – based on the grade structure of the Zambian schooling system – we find a significant impact among children age 11–14, which coincides with the exact age range where a sharp drop-out begins to occur in Zambia with point estimates in the range of 7–8 percentage points. Finally, we provide evidence on the potential pathways through which the unconditional cash transfer impacts on enrolment. Households in the CGP spend more on education, and in particular on uniforms and shoes, two items cited as key barriers to school enrolment in study areas.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 346-367 | Tags: cash transfers, schooling, child labour
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