The current debate on child labour focuses on developing countries. However, Portugal is an example of a relatively developed country where child labour is still a matter of concern as between 8% and 12% of Portuguese children may be classified as workers. This paper studies the patterns of child labour in Portugal and assesses the consequences of working on the educational success of Portuguese children. The analysis controls for typically unobserved attributes such as a child’s interest in school and educational ambitions and uses geographical variation in policies designed to tackle child labour and in labour inspection regimes to instrument child labour. We find that economic work hinders educational success, while domestic work does not appear to be harmful. Furthermore, after controlling for a host of socio-economic variables, factors such as a child’s interest in school and educational ambitions have a large effect on boosting educational success and reducing economic work.

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Keywords Child labour, Educational ambitions, Human capital
JEL Employment Determination; Job Creation; Demand for Labor; Self-Employment (jel J23), Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity (jel J24), Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration (jel O15)
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Series ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development
Journal Economics of Education Review
Goulart, P, & Bedi, A.S. (2008). Child labour and educational success in Portugal. Economics of Education Review, 27(5), 575–587. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2007.07.002