Child labor and school achievement in Latin America

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Date
2003-08-01
Authors
Gunnarsson, Victoria
Sánchez, Mario
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract

Child labor's effect on academic achievement is estimated, using unique data on 3rd and 4th graders in 9 Latin American countries. Cross-country variation in truancy regulations provides an exogenous shift in the ages of children normally in these grades, providing exogenous variation in opportunity cost of child time. Least-squares estimates of the impact of child labor on test scores are biased downward, but corrected estimates are still negative and statistically significant. Children working one standard deviation above the mean have average scores that are 16% lower on mathematics exams and 11% lower on language exams, consistent with estimates of the adverse impact of child labor on returns to schooling.

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