Three essays on children, women and economic development

Leone, Maria Anna (2013) Three essays on children, women and economic development. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates three important themes within the development economics literature that link children, women and economic development.
In the first essay we present an analysis of child labour among agricultural households
in rural Nepal. We first examine the monetary contribution of child labour to family farms.
For this purpose, within a non-separable agricultural household model we estimate a farm
production function to obtain shadow wages for both children and adults employed on the
farm. Our results reveal that the relative contribution of child labour to family income
is not negligible. We then analyse child labour supply to explore whether it is driven
by poverty or other reasons such as imperfections in the labour market. We estimate
both a reduced form model and a structural equation model. This latter includes the
estimated shadow wages and income from the previous analysis. Both models allow for
an examination of how child labour supply reacts to a change in the opportunity cost
of time and wealth. The reduced form results suggest that an increase in household's
wealth (measured by land endowments) reduces child labour, specifically of girls. This
result is consistent with the hypothesis of poverty-induced child labour in the presence of
perfect labour markets. This decline, however, occurs for sufficiently high levels of wealth.
Imperfections in the labour market may play a role in explaining child labour of boys
and in households that are not at the top-end of the land distribution. Estimates of the
structural labour supply model, however, yield results on wage and income elasticities that
partly contradicts the theoretical predictions.

In the second essay we analyse whether and how an increase in the participation of
women in a key decision making body of local collective action institutions - the Executive
Committee (EC) of Community Forest User Groups (CFUG) in Nepal - aspects forest
protection, specifically household firewood collection. In many developing countries women
are responsible for the collection and management of forest products essential to the
daily lives of their household. Therefore they have stronger interests than men in ensuring
the availability of these products. Despite this, women are often excluded from the
decision-making process that sets out the rules to access and collect forest products within
community forests. We account for the potential endogeneity of female participation and
exploit an amendment made to the guidelines for CFUG formation that sets a higher threshold for women representation in the Executive Committee to evaluate the impact
of women on firewood extraction. The results indicate that higher female participation in
the ECs of CFUGs leads to a decrease in firewood extraction. This evidence is suggestive
that women are prioritising conservation to ensure sustainable firewood extraction for
their daily needs.
In the third essay we analyse the short and long-term impact of violence on education in
Timor Leste. Specifically, we examine the effect of the 1999 violence on school attendance
in 2001 and its longer-term impact on primary school completion of the same cohorts of
children observed again in 2007. We compare the educational impact of the 1999 violence
with the impact of other periods of high-intensity violence during the 25 years of Indonesian
occupation. The short-term effects of the conflict are mixed. In the longer term, we find
evidence of a substantial loss of human capital among boys in Timor Leste exposed to
peaks of violence during the 25-year long conflict. The evidence suggests that this result may be due to household trade-offs between education and economic welfare.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD0072 Economic development. Development economics. Economic growth
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD4801 Labour. Work. Working class > HD6050 Classes of labour Including women, children, students, middle-aged and older persons, minorities
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ0503 The Family. Marriage. Home > HQ0767.8 Children. Child development Including child rearing, child life, play, socialisation, children's rights
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2013 17:10
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015 13:41
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/47194

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