In Egypt, girls' work primarily takes the form of domestic tasks, which are not considered in many studies of child labor. This paper investigates the effect of girls' work on their school attendance. It uses a modified bivariate probit approach to estimate the effect of work on schooling while allowing for the simultaneous determination of the two outcomes. It presents evidence that the substantial burden of girls' domestic work leads to lower rates of school attendance. Policies that attempt to ban the labor-force work of children will have practically no effect on girls' education in Egypt, while interventions reducing the drudgery of household labor through, for example, improved water and sanitation infrastructure, have better prospects for success.
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We thank Cristobal Ridao-Cano for allowing us to adapt his Stata program for a switching probit model. We are grateful to Dennis Ahlburg, Ray Langsten, Brian McCall, David Post, and Insan Tunali for detailed and valuable comments. Sara Kaufman, Pingkang Yu, Yi Zheng, and Hongliang Zhang provided competent research assistance. We gratefully acknowledge financial assistance and technical support from the International Center for Economic Growth (ICEG) through its Economic Policy Initiative Consortium project in Egypt, which is funded by USAID.
- Child labor
- Domestic work
- Household economics