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Is child work a deterrent to school attendance and school attainment? Evidence from Bangladesh

Rasheda Khanam (School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)
Russell Ross (Department of Economics, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




The aim of this paper is to examine the linkages between child work and both school attendance and school attainment of children aged 5‐17 years using data from a survey based in rural Bangladesh.


This paper first looks at school attendance as an indicator of a child's time input in schooling; then it measures the “schooling‐for‐age” as a learning achievement or schooling outcome using logistic regression models.


The results from this paper show that school attendance and grade attainment are lower for children who are working. The gender‐disaggregated estimates show that probability of grade attainment is lower for girls than that of boys. The results further reveal that child work has the highest impact on schooling of Bangladeshi children, followed by supply side correlates (presence of a school in the community), parental education and household income, respectively.

Practical implications

The results obtained in this paper are of interest to policy makers seeking to design policies that increase school outcome and reduce child labor.


The paper contributes to the limited empirical literature that has explored the impact of child work on schooling on Bangladesh by considering supply side correlates of schooling, and unpaid household work in modeling child labor.



Khanam, R. and Ross, R. (2011), "Is child work a deterrent to school attendance and school attainment? Evidence from Bangladesh", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 38 No. 8, pp. 692-713.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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