Determinants, consequences, and policy implications of child labor in the Philippines

Winfred M. Villamil


The paper gives a profile of the child labor situation in the country using data from the 1995 Child Labor Survey (CLS) of the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the 1998 Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS) data set. It then proceeds to analyze the socioeconomic determinants of child labor in the Philippines using the 1995 CLS. A sequential probit model is estimated to measure the impact of household and individual characteristics and location variables on the probability of child labor. The paper also does a correlation analysis of the effect of economic growth on the incidence of child labor.

The results indicate that household characteristics such as poverty, family size, the education of the household head, and ownership of a family-operated enterprise impact on the labor supply and school participation of children. Locational variables reflecting demand-side aspects of child labor were also important determinants. At the macro level, economic growth is negatively correlated with the participation of children in market work.

Success in the elimination of child labor involves a comprehensive approach requiring better enforcement of child labor laws complemented by policies and programs to alleviate poverty, achieve sustained growth, provide educational access especially to the children of poor households, and help poor households achieve their desired family size. 


child labor; poverty; Philippines

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