Effects of economic shocks on children's employment and schooling in Brazil

Suzanne Duryea, David Lam, Deborah Levison

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    98 Scopus citations


    This paper uses longitudinal employment survey data to analyze the impact of household economic shocks on the schooling and employment transitions of young people in metropolitan Brazil. The paper uses data on over 100,000 children ages 10-16 from Brazil's Monthly Employment Survey (PME) from 1982 to 1999. Taking advantage of the rotating panels in the PME, we compare households in which the male household head becomes unemployed during a four-month period with households in which the head is continuously employed. Probit regressions indicate that an unemployment shock significantly increases the probability that a child enters the labor force, drops out of school, and fails to advance in school. The effects can be large, implying increases of as much as 50% in the probability of entering employment for 16-year-old girls. In contrast, shocks occurring after the school year do not have significant effects, suggesting that these results are not due to unobserved characteristics of households that experience unemployment shocks. The results suggest that some households are not able to absorb short-run economic shocks, with negative consequences for children.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)188-214
    Number of pages27
    JournalJournal of Development Economics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Sep 2007


    • Brazil
    • Child labor
    • Schooling
    • Shocks

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