We test whether work in childhood impacts on health. We focus on agricultural work, the dominant form of child work worldwide. Data are from the Vietnam Living Standards Survey, 1992–93 and 1997–98. We correct for both unobservable heterogeneity and simultaneity biases. Instruments are land holdings and commune labour market and school quality indicators. We examine three indicators of health: weight-for-age Z-score; reported illness; and, height growth. There is clear evidence of a healthy worker selection effect. We find little evidence of a contemporaneous negative impact of child work on health but, particularly for females, work undertaken during childhood raises the risk of illness up to five years later. For boys, the risk is increasing with the period of time in work. There is no evidence that work impedes the growth of the child.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Anthropometrics, Child labor, Child labour, Children, Health, Heterogeneity, Labor market, Surveys, Vietnam, health
JEL Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior (jel I12), Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth (jel J13), Time Allocation and Labor Supply (jel J22)
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00148-004-0197-y, hdl.handle.net/1765/11346
Journal Journal of Population Economics
O'Donnell, O.A, Rosati, F, & van Doorslaer, E.K.A. (2005). Health effects of child work: Evidence from rural Vietnam. Journal of Population Economics (Vol. 18, pp. 437–467). doi:10.1007/s00148-004-0197-y