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Productive safety net program and children’s time use between work and schooling in Ethiopia (Woldehanna 2010)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Woldehanna T. (2010). Productive safety net program and children’s time use between work and schooling in Ethiopia. In J. Cockburn & J. Kabubo-Mariara (Eds.). Child Welfare in Developing Countries (pp. 157-209). New York, NY: Springer.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Agricultural Extension Support Program (AEP) on child labor and schooling outcomes in rural Ethiopia.
  • The study used a matched-comparison group design. Using data from a household survey, the author compared time spent in child labor and schooling among AEP participants and non-participants.
  • The study found that AEP participation was significantly related to lower amounts of time spent in paid work and in a combined measure of all work, as well as greater amounts of time spent in school.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Agricultural Extension Support Program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Features of the Intervention

The government of Ethiopia has historically offered social welfare programs to protect citizens from periods of famine and improve food security. In 2005, they began a new social assistance program called the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP). The Agricultural Extension Support Program (AEP) was an additional program offered that was around before and during PSNP implementation. AEP provides technical assistance on farming practices, farming support, and access to advanced technologies and fertilizer. The AEP program was available to all local farmers with no restrictions, which applied to most of the PSNP program participants.

Features of the Study

The author used a nonexperimental design to compare the labor and schooling outcomes of children in households that participated in the AEP with those who did not, using data from the 2006 Young Lives survey. The Young Lives survey provided data on how much time youth spend in different activities, including schooling and paid work. It also asked about household demographics and participation in social programs since 2002; this information was used to identify participants for the treatment and comparison groups. The author created a matched comparison group based on child and household socioeconomic characteristics. The study included only children who were 12 years old when they took the survey. This included a total of 584 children (104 in the treatment group, 480 in the comparison group). Child labor was measured as the number of hours in a day spent in paid work outside the home, unpaid work outside the home, combined time spent in paid and unpaid work outside the home, time spent in child care and household chores, and a combined measure of all hours worked. Schooling was measured as the number of hours spent in school in a day. The author used statistical models to estimate program impacts.

Findings

Working children/Child Labor

  • The study found a statistically significant relationship between AEP participation and a lower amount of time spent doing only paid work outside the home and in a combined measure of all work (including paid and unpaid work outside the home and child care and household chores).
  • However, there was no a significant relationship between AEP participation and time spent doing only unpaid work outside of the home, in total time spent in work outside home (whether paid or unpaid), or in child care and household chores.

Education (School participation/enrollment)

  • The study found a statistically significant relationship between AEP participation and a greater amount of time spent in school.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors did not account for preexisting differences between the groups in child labor or schooling outcomes before AEP participation. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not the AEP— could explain the observed differences in outcomes.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Agricultural Extension Support Program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Additional Sources

Woldehanna, T. (2009). Productive safety net programme and children’s time use between work and schooling in Ethiopia. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08b5340f0b652dd000c04/YL-WorkingPaper-40.pdf

Reviewed by CLEAR

December 2018

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