By Peter F. Orazem, Guilherme Sedlacek, Zafiris Tzannatos (eds.)

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The more children have to work, the more tired they will be when in school and the less time they will have for study. 3, suggests that a high proportion of working children work too many hours to succeed in school. More than half the working children in Nicaragua work more than five hours per day, as do just under half of the working children in Brazil. The proportions in Ecuador (34%) and Peru (15%) are modest in comparison, but still high enough to suggest a problem. The impact of child labor on student learning is quantified in chapter 7 by examining achievement test results.

6 Estimates of returns per year of schooling suggest that there is a significant loss of lifetime earnings for each year of schooling lost. Psacharopoulos (1985) estimated that the private returns to a year of primary schooling in Latin America averaged 61%, so even a few years of schooling sacrificed to gain current child earnings could significantly lower lifetime earnings. 4 suggest that while the majority of working children are enrolled in school, child labor hinders academic achievement per year spent in school.

In all countries, however, income-earning opportunities for children corresponding to age, rural residence, and gender appear to have a significant impact on child laborforce participation. Altering returns to child labor may have a larger effect. 6 lists the results of enrollment regressions, with and without income quintiles. The null hypothesis that income quintiles do not affect enrollment probability is rejected in every country. Coefficients are robust to the inclusion or exclusion of the income quintiles, so the discussion is concentrated on the specifications including income quintiles.

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