Parental disability, child labour and child human capital in Ethiopia

SIMEU, NATALIE (2016). 'Parental disability, child labour and child human capital in Ethiopia' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

Whereas disability was invisible in the Millenium Development Goals (2000-2015), a growing awareness of the vulnerability of disabled people and their families has militated in favour of disability-inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) (UN, 2014). People with disabilities represent 15% of the world population and they are exposed to socioeconomic disadvantages that affect their wellbeing as well as their children’s lives (WHO, 2011). Disability may deprive parents of resources necessary to invest in their children’s human capital (education and health). Moreover, sons and daughters of disabled people may be exposed to child labour, an activity that could be detrimental to their schooling and health. Since children’s human capital lays the cornerstone of their future life and plays a crucial role in the socioeconomic development of a society, any factor susceptible to compromise human capital accumulation must be paid careful attention to.
To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first investigating the causal effect of parental disability on child labour, children’s educational and health outcomes. Using panel data from Ethiopia, we apply a fixed effects model to control for endogeneity. Our results show that the influence of parental disability on child outcomes varies according to the gender of the parent considered. The mother’s disability has a positive impact on child labour while the father’s disability affect child human capital. By providing evidence that parental disability foster child labour on one hand and represents an obstacle to children’s human capital accumulation on another hand, this paper provides an insight into the factors that public authorities can tackle in order to enhance the wellbeing of children and the overall society.

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