18 June 2010

The Child Labour Market in Juba

This chart comes from a fascinating new report on Child workers in Juba.

Economic Activities of Children working on the streets in Juba.

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I’m really torn on whether it is a good idea to give money to these kids or not. They are usually around outside the Ministries washing cars, and polishing shoes at the local cafes. It seems like a classic aid problem of weighing the direct benefit vs the indirect harm. Is the meal today worth more than the disincentive to attend school?

I’ve tried to do a bit of homework (er, googling), and one of the foremost experts on the economics of child labour seems to be Kaushik Basu, previously a professor at Princeton and now Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India (he has written a book on the subject – see here for the review on Marginal Revolution). Sadly though all I can really find are government policy recommendations, with no suggestions for the concerned individual (although there are some general concerns about potentially perverse impacts of well-meaning trade boycotts at the national level.

Any ideas?

Finally back to that report. It doesn’t tell us how many of their interviewees just work on the streets, and how many live there too. It doesn’t tell us how the questions were worded. It doesn’t have any cross-tabulations. Next time I would recommend paying a visit to the SSCCSE for some statistical advice.

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