Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Wei-Chiao Huang

Second Advisor

Dr. Sisay Asefa

Third Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Ofori-Amoah


Child labor, child education, economics


This dissertation, which comprises three essays, studies the economics of child labor and child education using data from Ghana and Nigeria. The first essay investigates the effect of household shocks on child labor and school enrollment. I use data from a two-year panel data set of Nigerian households surveyed between 2010/2011 and 2012/2013. I find that agricultural shocks, measured as crop and livestock losses, increases child labor hours and decreases the probability that a child will enroll in school. I also find that health shocks to men increases child labor hours. In contrast, health shocks to women have no impact on child labor hours and school enrollment.

The second essay studies the impact of parental health insurance enrollment on child labor and school enrollment. I use data from the sixth round of the Ghana Living Standards Survey to examine if children living in households where parents are enrolled in the Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) have better schooling and child labor outcomes compared with children living in households where parents are not enrolled in the NHIS. Using a propensity score matching and an instrumental variable estimation technique, I find that enrollment in the NHIS increases the probability that a child will attend school and decreases child labor hours.

The third essay examines the factors that determine whether a child living in a cocoa growing household attends school only, combines school with work on the family farm, combines school with work outside the family farm, or is idle. I employ a three-stage sequential logit model estimation technique. The results indicate that parental education, poverty, household size, parental farm experience, age and gender of child are important variables that determine child labor and school enrollment.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until