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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries PART III Transition to Adult Roles
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries 5 The Transition to Work INTRODUCTION One of the most important transitions young people make as they grow older is the transition from being dependent on the economic support of their parents or other adults to being economically productive in their own right with the ability to support themselves and others. This productivity can take many forms, for example, working on the family farm, caring for children at home, working for wages in a factory, or running an independent business. Whatever form this work takes, the transition to becoming a productive member of society depends for its success, at least in part, on the achievement and maintenance of good health and the acquisition of marketable skills as well as capabilities for lifelong learning (topics covered in the previous two chapters). This transition differs significantly across regions of the world, and it has been affected in important ways by global demographic, social, and economic changes. In response to global economic change, the reward structures of many labor markets are changing to favor those with secondary education or beyond. Perhaps in part as a result, there has been an enormous shift in the use of children’s time from work (mostly in family enterprises and in noneconomic household work1) to schooling. Nevertheless, in many develop- 1 The term “noneconomic household work” was developed by statisticians specializing in gender issues to capture domestic chores that are noneconomic in nature. As some economic activity occurs in the household, it is important to distinguish between economic household work and noneconomic household work (United Nations, 2000c:134-135).
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries ing countries experiencing economic growth, low-cost child labor still can give producers a competitive edge. The heightened concern about child labor in developing countries reflects these two contradictory realities. When children take up full-time work responsibilities in the home or labor market too soon, their future productive potential can be comprised. Throughout history, much learning has been acquired in the context of work through formal or informal apprenticeships. However, certain important skills that are increasingly required in today’s job market are rarely acquired on the job, but are more typically acquired in school. These include proficiency in reading, writing, mathematics, abstract reasoning, critical thinking, and computer literacy as well as skills in lifelong learning. Given the early and rapid development of the brain, children benefit most when these skills are acquired at a young age. For these reasons, successful transitions to adult work roles in today’s workplace are likely to be completed later, involve more formal schooling, and possibly play out more gradually than in the past. The pathways of young men and women typically diverge as they prepare for adult work roles. The socialization of young people for adulthood starts in the family and is usually modeled on the norms and values of adult family members, as colored by their own life experiences. The traditional division of labor between the sexes—which has been reinforced over the generations through this socialization process—stems from a universal concern with the protection, feeding, and rearing of the young and a recognition of the importance of maintaining physical proximity between mother and child. Women’s productive activities have traditionally remained close to home and have been less likely than men’s to yield direct personal remuneration in the form of cash income. As a result, young women have been trained for and aspired to adult work roles and livelihoods that are compatible with mothering, whereas young men have pursued a wider set of potentially more remunerative options. The growing importance of a cash economy brings with it both opportunities and pitfalls for a current generation of young women who are anticipating and planning for adult lives that are likely to be quite different from their mothers’. On one hand, the growth in remunerative market job opportunities, particularly for those with secondary schooling, has the potential to attract young women into the labor force, put cash in their hands, and give them opportunities for greater agency in their lives, whether it is a better choice of spouse, an opportunity to save, a greater say in the family, or more money for personal consumption. On the other hand, the growing importance of a cash economy can also ultimately reinforce existing intrahousehold inequalities, if young women revert to traditional roles after marriage and childbearing while young men gain increasing control of the
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries disposition of their family’s financial resources as they age.2 Furthermore, rising rates of female household headship around the world suggest that women who have the ability to generate income through their work will be better prepared to face future uncertainties.3 Thus, our definition of a successful work transition for young women today has to include, as it does for young men, the opportunity or potential to earn cash. Probably the most dramatic social transformations that have occurred in developed countries over the last 30 years have been the growing labor force participation of women, accompanied by a rising percentage of women working outside their homes or farms for cash—first young unmarried women, then older married women, and most recently young mothers in the labor force—and the narrowing gap between men’s and women’s pay.4 These changes permit young women greater agency in all aspects of their lives both over the course of the transition to adulthood and beyond (Blau, 1997; Goldin, 1990). These changes have been very much supported and reinforced by women’s ability, for the first time in history, to limit their fertility and control the timing of their children’s births so as to enhance their career building over the life cycle—a possibility that now potentially exists for all women thanks to dramatic improvements in birth control technology (Birdsall and Chester, 1987). The experience of women in the 2 These intrahousehold inequalities emerge due to the strong link between access to cash and bargaining power over the allocation of resources in the home or family, as presented in the seminal papers by Manser and Brown (1979, 1980) and McElroy and Horney (1981). These led to a large subsequent literature, some important examples of which include Browning et al. (1994), Dwyer and Bruce (1988), Haddad, Hoddinott, and Alderman (1997), Lundberg and Pollak (1993), Lundberg, Pollak, and Wales (1997), and Rubalcava, Teruel, and Thomas (2002). Most of the literature interprets the associations between intrahousehold allocations and cash income of women as reflecting causal effects, although most studies do not distinguish persuasively between the effect of increased cash income of women and the possibility that women with greater unobserved motivations and abilities for those reasons have both greater cash income and more impact on intrahousehold allocations (see Behrman, 1997). The Lundberg, Pollak, and Wales study noted above is an exception: it uses a change in the recipients of English child support payments from fathers to mothers to identify such effects. Another exception is Rubalcava, Teruel, and Thomas (2002), which used the random assignment of transfers to women in some poor rural Mexican household to identify these effects. 3 It is estimated that women in developing countries can expect to spend roughly a quarter to a third of their adult years outside marriage due to nonmarriage, widowhood, and divorce (Bruce, Lloyd, and Leonard, 1995). 4 However, the available data on manufacturing wages by gender as of the mid-1990s did not show a narrowing of the gender gaps in most fast-growing East Asian economies, some of which are currently included in the developed country group (Behrman and Zhang, 1995).
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries world of work in the developed world over the last 30 years suggests a further prerequisite for successful work transitions—the opportunity to earn cash in the labor force before marriage—a possibility that has always been available to men. Due to changing family circumstances, rising educational attainment, greater mobility, and rapid economic changes, one can confidently predict that the transition to work in developing countries today will be different from that in the past and is increasingly likely to be multistaged. The type of part-time work that is appropriate while one is still a student during the teen years will be different from the type of full-time work that may be desired if one is planning for and saving for marriage. Furthermore, the type of work undertaken if one is still living at home with one’s parents may be different from the type of work desired if one is managing one’s own home. Increasingly, a successful transition to adult work roles will be one that accommodates these stages and allows greater flexibility and mobility over time for both young men and young women. Given all these considerations, a successful transition depends not only on appropriate preparation, but also, equally importantly, on a healthy and growing economy that generates a diversity of adequate jobs or other forms of livelihood for each new cohort as it approaches adulthood as well as equal opportunities, regardless of gender, race, or class. Young people and their parents respond to the incentives that surround them and cannot be expected to carry the responsibilities of success on their shoulders alone. Thus, in this chapter, as we review trends in work participation among young people in developing countries, we are interested not only in explaining current trends, but also in drawing lessons from current policies and programs that may hold promise for the future. As in other chapters, we begin with a discussion of current patterns and recent changes in the transition to work, including some of the links between this transition and other transitions previously discussed, while drawing on available data from household surveys and censuses. The determinants of these changes are discussed next, using as a guide the conceptual framework laid out in Chapter 2. We conclude with a discussion of policies and programs operating at the international, national, and local levels that directly or indirectly have implications for preparation for and acquisition of adult work roles. The panel was unable to explore some potentially important aspects of the transition to adult work roles due to lack of data. These include the links between work experience during the transition to adulthood and the development of a sense of identity, agency, competence, and decision-making skills and the implications of these potential benefits of labor market work during the transition for successful transitions in other domains. We address this gap in our research recommendations.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries The chapter focuses primarily on formal or informal work in the labor market, the kind of work that is typically measured in labor market surveys.5 This is in part because the data are more complete for labor market work than they are for noneconomic household work. But more importantly, it is because of the particular importance we have attached to paid work, which represents a growing share of labor market work everywhere, in our definition of successful work transitions. Special topical themes covered in the chapter include child labor, the changing roles of young women in the labor market, youth unemployment, and migration for work. Because comparable data on many of these topics are lacking, we often rely on case studies to illustrate key points that, in our view, have the potential for wider applicability. The chapter begins with an introductory discussion of work defined in its broadest sense to include noneconomic household work, drawing on time use data among adolescents in order to provide a context for the subsequent discussion of recent trends and determinants of labor force participation. PATTERNS AND TRENDS IN WORK PARTICIPATION AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE This section presents empirical evidence on patterns of work by age and sex as derived from recently collected time use data as well as on trends in the labor force participation of young people as measured in conventional survey and census data. The distinction between the terms “work” and “labor force participation” is an important one for our purposes. Standard labor force statistics typically divide the population into three groups based on responses given in censuses or household surveys to questions about economic activity in the week, month, or year prior to the survey. Those who report that they did any work for pay, or a certain number of hours of self-employed work or unpaid work in a family farm or business working during the reporting period, are considered employed. This group includes both formal and informal employment. The second group—the unemployed—are generally defined as those who report that they were not doing any of the specified types of work during the reporting period, but were looking for a job. The employed and unemployed groups are both considered to be economically active and together make up the labor force. The 5 Informal employment is comprised of both self-employment in informal enterprises (i.e., small and/or unregistered) and wage employment in informal jobs (i.e., without secure contracts, worker benefits, or social protection [International Labour Office, 2002a]). In developing regions, a majority of those who are employed informally are self-employed. By contrast, formal employment involves secure contracts, worker benefits, and/or social protection.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries third group is those who are neither employed nor unemployed. This group is considered out of the labor force or “not economically active.” However, many young people who are defined as out of the labor force or not economically active are actually working in areas not well covered by labor force surveys and censuses. The types of work rarely measured include noneconomic household work or domestic work (which falls outside the definition of economic activity) as well as various forms of remunerative but informal, episodic, or casual work, as well as illegal or socially sanctioned work (which fall within the definition of economic activity). Time use data, when available, can provide an alternative and more comprehensive perspective on patterns of work over the transition to adulthood as well as on gender differences in work burdens by age. This is because typically these include not only time doing labor market work but also time spent in noneconomic household work. Because most reported labor force participation data do not distinguish part-time from full-time employment and do not include participation in noneconomic household work, it is difficult to get a complete sense of the number of hours worked overall or the extent to which young people combine school with various types of work. However, data on trends in time use are not available. Thus, time use data are mainly useful in setting the context in which to interpret the more available data on labor force participation, because they include various categories of work time, including unpaid work and noneconomic household work, that are not captured in labor force surveys. Patterns of Time Use From an overall review of the literature on the time use of adolescents and youth, three fairly universal patterns emerge: (1) There are significant differences in the way boys and girls spend their work time, regardless of age, with boys more likely to work for pay or family economic gain and girls more likely to do noneconomic household work (i.e., domestic chores); (2) The total amount of time devoted to all work activities (labor market activities and noneconomic household activities combined) rises with age for both boys and girls; (3) Girls tend to work longer hours in total than boys, leaving boys more time for leisure activities (Ritchie, Lloyd, and Grant, 2004). Levison, Moe, and Knaul’s (2001) analysis of time use data for 12-17-year-olds in urban Mexico illustrates these points well (Figure 5-1).6 Rising rates of school attendance during the adolescent years have 6 Neither of these studies, however, explored differences in work patterns by family income or wealth, which are likely to be important as well.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries FIGURE 5-1 Weekly hours by type of work, urban Mexico, 1996 (ages 12-17). SOURCE: Levison, Moe, and Knaul (2001:171).
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries implications for time use among young people. A recent comparative analysis of time use data for young people ages 15-19 from an eclectic group of developing countries, including Kenya, India, Nicaragua, Pakistan, and South Africa, allows comparisons of time use between students and nonstudents (Ritchie, Lloyd, and Grant, 2004). Figure 5-2 shows gender differences in mean hours per day spent in school as well as gender differences in mean hours per day spent in all types of work (labor market work and noneconomic household work combined). The patterns shown in the figure describe associations that are similar across countries representing a wide range of school attendance patterns among 15-19-year-olds. Figure 5-2 shows that there are large variations across countries in the average time currently enrolled students spend attending school and doing schoolwork, variations that largely reflect variations in the length of the school day. For example, the average time devoted to school is almost twice as high in rural Kenya as it is in rural South Africa. The longer the school day, the shorter the time students have available for any type of work. One of the major concerns about child labor is that it interferes with the ability of young people to attend and learn effectively in school (Anker, 2000). These data suggest that the extent to which this may be true varies across countries in accordance with school schedules. As far as the overall distribution of total work burdens (combining time spent in paid work, unpaid work, and domestic work) is concerned, Figure 5-2 shows that in every case, those who are not enrolled in school report substantially more total work hours than enrolled students, regardless of the reference period. This is not surprising given that school takes up a significant portion of the day. It is also true that, in every case but rural Nicaragua, girls report more total work hours than boys, whether or not they are students. Among students, gender disparities in total work time are greatest for urban India, with girls reporting on average 2 more hours of work on days when school is in session than boys. Gender differences in students’ total work time on a school day are typically about an hour. Among nonenrolled adolescents as well, gender differences in total work time are typically about an hour. Thus, while those who attend school have less total work demands, female students still work longer total hours than male students. Figure 5-3 provides a further breakdown of daily time use into noneconomic household work and labor market work. Here we can see that the gender division of labor in this phase of the life cycle is most sharply etched among those who are not attending school. While boys who are students share noneconomic household work roles with girls, boys who are not in school spend the majority of their work day in economic activity, while girls who are not in school are largely limited to noneconomic household work. Indeed, boys contribute more to the household in terms of noneco-
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries nomic household work than economic activities when they are enrolled. Female students, however, still do more noneconomic household work than male adolescents who are not enrolled in school. These data provide suggestive evidence that the sharp increases in school participation and attainment that have occurred around the world in the last 20 years are likely to be associated with simultaneous declines in overall work burdens as well as declines in labor force participation rates among adolescents (Ritchie, Lloyd, and Grant, 2004). As these data are very recent and gender gaps in enrollment are closing rapidly, these findings also imply that the time use of male and female adolescents, at least during the early and middle phases of the transition to adulthood, is becoming more similar despite the fact that the work burdens that accompany school attendance are still greater for girls. Trends in Labor Force Participation This section presents empirical evidence on recent trends in the labor force participation of young people ages 15-24 as measured in conventional surveys and censuses.7 As defined above, the labor force participation rate is the proportion of the population that is economically active and includes both the employed and the unemployed. The International Labour Organization (ILO) plays an important role in developing standards for the collection of labor force statistics at the national level, compiling these national statistics in a variety of publications and data bases. We restrict our analysis to those data provided by the ILO that are the direct result of dedicated data collection exercises and choose not to present estimated participation rates, whether prepared by the ILO or by national statistical offices.8 While it is important to keep in mind that the data are not necessarily perfectly comparable across countries because of differences in the wording of questions, the length of the reference periods, definitions of work or unemployment, and the design of household surveys, these compilations provide the best available international source of information on labor force statistics and, therefore, the best place to begin. Under the assumption that individual countries typically apply internally consistent definitions of labor force participation over time, these data are particularly appropriate for the comparison of trends across countries. 7 Because of the sensitivity of issues associated with work among children ages 10-14, data on this age group are less often collected and, when collected, harder to interpret. Recent data collection efforts by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the International Labour Organization are discussed later in the chapter in the section on child labor. 8 Such estimates are difficult to evaluate because the assumptions that underlie them are not known.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries This policy alone can have huge consequences for poverty in rural regions of developing nations, causing agricultural wages to be low, contributing to underemployment, and diminishing young people’s opportunity for work in rural areas.37 National Labor Policies and Programs Laws and Regulations Some labor laws and regulations, such as minimum ages of employment and youth-specific minimum wages, are specifically adopted with young people in mind. Others, such as rules governing employment contracts, conditions of employment including hours and wages, and job security or antidiscrimination legislation, are more general but may have particular consequences for new labor market entrants. Typically, these laws or regulations, while commonly adopted in developing countries, apply only in the formal sector, which, in many settings, appears to be declining in relative importance even as economies are growing. There have been few studies of the effects of minimum wage legislation on youth employment in developing countries. This is probably because so few youth work in the formal sector and because, even in the formal sector, enforcement of minimum wage laws, where they exist, tends to be weak. Furthermore, minimum wages are typically set very low and, even if set at a relevant rate, are often quickly eroded by inflation. A recent review of the literature (Ghellab, 1998) found only one study of the specific effects of the minimum wage on youth employment in urban Indonesia, where its effects were found to be statistically insignificant (Rama, 1996, as cited in Ghellab, 1998). The story of the enforcement of stricter child labor standards in Nepal (see Box 5-4) is a particularly poignant example of the complexity of applying labor standards in a poor country in which many children work outside the reach of the government’s potential enforcement capacities (Baker and 37 The International Food Policy Research Institute (2003) estimates that total support to agriculture in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries in 2001 was over $US300 billion and that this support costs agriculture and related industries in developing countries at least $US24 billion annually (not counting some possibly important spillover and dynamic effects) and displaces over $US40 billion annually in developing country agricultural exports. Thus OECD agricultural policies not only have major negative effects on income and employment to produce that income in developing countries, but also on the most productive allocation of labor and other resources in developing countries (International Food Policy Research Institute, 2003).
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries BOX 5-4 Child Workers in the Carpet Industry in Nepal Through the enforcement of child labor laws, children working in large and highly visible carpet factories in Nepal, which were deemed to have hazardous work conditions, were expelled from their workplaces and disallowed from income-generating activities (Baker and Hinton, 2001). In the mid-1990s, these expelled child workers were then enrolled in a rehabilitation program funded by the Nepal Rugmark Foundation, which was funded by contributions from factory owners and set up to enable them to attach “child labor free” labels to their carpets. Children were placed in residential hostels; provided with health care, nonformal education, and counseling; and, ultimately reunited, if possible, with their families in rural areas. However, many children worked alongside other family members and being reunited with their family meant being allowed to remain near them in their factory environments. Thus, there has been increasing attention to the need to provide day nurseries, nonformal education, and health facilities in the factory environment. The authors of the study point to the need for protective policies that will allow children to combine work with schooling. Hinton, 2001). While children under the age of 16 no longer work in the largest carpet factories, which have been subject to government inspections and extensive media attention, employers in the smaller and medium-sized factories remain ignorant of the law or able to circumvent it. In a recent comparative study of the employment effects of labor regulations in 85 countries that included over 50 developing countries, Botero and colleagues (2003) found no evidence that the regulation of labor, while more extensively practiced in poorer than richer countries, is beneficial. Indeed, they found that young people suffer differentially from labor regulations. For this analysis, they developed an index of employment laws related to conditions of employment, job security, and alternative employment contracts that ranges in value from 0.87 to 2.40, with higher values reflecting a greater degree of regulation. Developing countries, which have tended to adopt legal traditions from former colonial powers, are distributed through the range. An increase of the employment laws index by 1 point raises the average unemployment rate for young men by 6 percent and of young women by nearly 10 percentage points. More extensive labor regulations are also associated with a relatively greater share of the economy being situated in the informal sector. Policies and Programs Promoting Youth Employment Policies and programs designed to promote youth employment or livelihoods can be grouped in four categories: (1) vocational education and
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries training, (2) information sharing, (3) direct job creation, and (4) support for self-employment and enterprise creation, including various livelihood schemes promoted by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). We also include military or national service here. While military service is rarely discussed in this context, it should be recognized that it often provides employment and training for young people, mainly young men. For those who do not make a long-term career in the military, it also provides a transition back into the regular labor market with marketable skills (see further discussion of military service and its role in citizenship formation in Chapter 6). A recent report of the secretary general of the ILO stated that “training is in crisis everywhere in the developing world” (International Labour Office, 2003:38). In many developing countries, a large part of vocational training has traditionally taken place in the schooling system in the form of a specialized track at the secondary level, with per-student costs that can be as much as twice those of general secondary schooling (Gill and Fluitman, 1997). Employers, unions, and other government agencies often play a role as well. Typically the types of skills provided are geared to jobs in the formal sector. However, bureaucratic rigidities and outdated curricula have combined to raise questions about the cost-effectiveness of an approach that is slow to respond to rapidly changing skill requirements in the marketplace. Nonetheless, many countries continue to focus employment policies for young people around vocational education. For example, in the 1992 revision of the National Policy on Education in India, high priority was assigned to the “vocationalisation” of secondary education, but subsequent follow-up suggests that progress was sluggish and the links between the schools and industry were weak (Visaria, 1998). In Mexico, the National College of Vocation Studies—a decentralized federal institution that provides mid-level technical training at the postsecondary level—has been criticized for its inflexibility and its inability to build an adequate relationship with the private sector (Lugo, 1999). This is made all the more challenging by the fact that most firms in the formal sector have relatively few employees and a growing number of young people work in the informal sector. Egypt is well known for its large system of technical secondary schooling. Two-thirds of graduates from basic schools go to technical secondary schools rather than academic secondary schools. However, many of the concerns raised above have stimulated thinking about alternative approaches. The Mubarak-Kohl initiative conceived in 1991 and piloted in some of Egypt’s new cities in 1995 hoped to create a cooperative system of internship training using public-private partnerships (van Eekelen, de Luca, and Ismail, 2001). So far this initiative has not taken off and is unlikely to spread beyond the internationally competitive sector of the economy be-
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries cause of its costs (Gill and Fluitman, 1997). Furthermore, concerns have been expressed that vocational training that was previously open to young men and women equally would begin to favor young men, because students in the program would be selected by private companies and the private sector is largely closed to women in Egypt (Assaad, 2002). Vocational training is distinguished from vocational education by being outside the formal school system, but also outside the workplace, while in-service training occurs in firms. The Chile Joven program represents a model combining both approaches, which has now been replicated in three other Latin American countries (Gallart, 2001). Aedo and Nuńnez (2001) evaluate the effectiveness of Programa Joven in Argentina, a program targeted to young people from poor households with low levels of school and no work experience. The training combines a classroom and an internship phase lasting from 14 to 20 weeks. The program showed statistically significant positive wage effects for young men and adult women as well as statistically significant positive employment effects for adult women only, controlling for selection into the program.38 The authors interpret these results as reflecting the different market conditions faced by different groups rather than differences in their training experiences. Using data on program costs and estimated benefits, the authors conclude that it would take 9-12 years for the net present value of the program to become positive. Given evidence of the relatively modest returns associated with job training, the Inter-American Development Bank in its latest report on the Latin American labor market recommends that governments “should move away from the direct provision of training and improve the incentives of firms, workers and training providers to fund, seek and provide high quality training” (Inter-American Development Bank, 2003a). Job counseling and job registries do not create jobs or provide training, but they can improve the effectiveness of the search process through information sharing and better matching of jobs with potential applicants. In India, the national employment service operates over 900 employment exchanges, primarily in large towns and cities, and the overwhelming majority of registrants are young people ages 15-29 in search of their first jobs (Visaria, 1998). However, employers do not find that they meet their needs and, as a result during 1995, there were 5.9 million job seekers registered but only 386,000 vacancies listed. Evidence from evaluations in member 38 The authors estimate a model of program participation and, based on the estimated propensity scores, they use the nearest neighbor matching estimator to estimate the impact of the program separately.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests that job registries can be cost-effective if properly managed, however (Inter-American Development Bank, 2003a). Labor-intensive public works projects have been a long-standing approach to job creation. For example, the Public Works Programme (PWP) in Egypt was set up in 1991 to apply and institutionalize, at the national level, labor-intensive techniques in infrastructure projects to create employment in rural areas. While young people have not been specifically targeted, young men have been the principal beneficiaries (van Eekelen, de Luca, and Ismail, 2001). The long-term success of such programs is significantly enhanced if there are spillover effects in the local economy that encourage sustained employment and growth. Furthermore, since these projects are likely to lighten domestic work burdens, they may free many young women for participation in the nonagricultural wage sector—a sector that has traditionally been closed to them. A final approach to youth employment is the promotion of self-employment and entrepreneurship through various livelihood schemes. Livelihood schemes have as their objective the promotion of self-employment and entrepreneurship among traditionally disadvantaged groups and have recently been promoted as a promising approach to the integration of girls and young women into an increasingly informal labor market. Livelihood schemes can encompass the development of capabilities, resources, and opportunities (Population Council and International Center for Research on Women, 2000). This has been a fertile arena for NGOs in many settings and goes beyond training to encompass access to financial services, access to markets, the creation of safe spaces, the empowerment of young women, and the protection and promotion of rights, among other goals (see further discussion of the role of livelihood interventions in the acquisition of citizenship in Chapter 6). While there is strong evidence that young women’s labor force participation rates are on the rise, there is no comparable evidence about trends in domestic work burdens or patterns of labor market discrimination. By adopting an integrated approach to addressing the needs of young women, these programs are trying to address simultaneously many of the traditional disadvantages that these women have faced in making the transition to adult work roles and responsibilities. Evaluations of some of these programs are currently under way. Antipoverty Programs Promoting Children’s Schooling In Chapter 3, grants to poor families conditional on their children’s school attendance were featured as a promising new approach to increasing school participation and attainment among the poor. In most cases these same evaluations, which have been heavily concentrated in Latin America,
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries have documented program effects on children’s work participation as well. Variations in key features of program design, as well as in the contexts in which these programs have been applied (e.g., prevalence and depth of poverty, previous school participation, school quality, opportunities for children to work for pay), will clearly lead to differences in outcomes. The most comprehensive assessment of time-use impacts on children of conditional grants for school has been done in connection with the evaluation of PROGRESA: poor families were eligible to receive monthly grants on a per-child basis as long as the child maintains an 85 percent attendance record in school (Skoufias and Parker, forthcoming). The percentage decline in labor force participation rates for boys was roughly in balance with the rise in school enrollment, except among boys ages 16-17 who showed no significant reduction in the probability of working. For girls, however, the decline in their labor force participation was much lower than the recorded rise in their enrollment rates, because they had much lower levels of labor force participation to begin with. However, by looking more comprehensively at all aspects of time use, the researchers were able to document that PROGRESA also lowered the time girls spend on domestic chores, which can also be an important barrier to school attendance. Thus it appears that PROGRESA has the promise of contributing to a more successful transition to adult work roles for many poor Mexican youth. A pilot project in Nicaragua with a similar design but with a slightly younger group of children targeted for education support (ages 7-13) also found that the percentage of children working after the program had been in operation for a year was lower in every age group, but only significantly so in the case of children ages 12-13 (Maluccio, forthcoming). Because of the younger ages of the children, their participation rates were lower than in Mexico, where children enrolled in secondary school were also included. This is likely to explain the less significant effects. The experience of the Program to Eradicate Child Labor (PETI) in rural Brazil is of particular interest because its primary goal was to eliminate child labor. This program provides a per-child stipend to poor households conditional on the school attendance of those children that households designate as participants; it is also conditional on the attendance of participating children in an after-school program (Jornada Ampliada), which effectively doubles the length of the school day. In addition, it includes a contract signed by the parents agreeing that their participating children will not work. The evaluation was based on a cross-sectional survey conducted in participating and nonparticipating communities (matched on socioeconomic status) three years after the initiation of the program (Yap, Sedlacek, and Orazem, forthcoming). In the statistical analysis, PETI was found to be more successful in removing children who were working part time from the labor force than removing children working full time. This result was seen
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries to be due to the availability of the after-school program, particular in Bahia—an region with high rates of child labor—where nonprogram children were also allowed to participate in the after-school program. PETI participants were also more likely than nonparticipants to progress to the next grade and less likely to engage in various types of hazardous work. It is not known whether the after-school program had a direct effect on better grade progression rates through the provision of more educational inputs or an indirect effect through the reduction of work hours. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Key Findings The rise in school enrollment and the delay in the timing of school exit have resulted in a delay in the timing of labor force entry and a concomitant decline in the prevalence of child labor. Not only is the average educational attainment of new labor force entrants rising, but so are the earnings of secondary and university graduates compared with those who lack an education or have only completed primary school. As a result, working children in developing countries are experiencing a growing disadvantage relative to their more educated peers. The rapidly closing gender gap in school attendance and participation implies a growing equalization of work burdens between young men and women as their daily lives become more similar to each other. These changes in gender roles during a critical phase of the transition to adulthood are creating opportunities for greater gender equity in adulthood. Nonetheless, young women’s work burdens still exceed those of young men even when they are students, because they spend relatively more time than young men on noneconomic household work. The longer young people stay in school, the more likely they are to combine schooling and work. Indeed, part-time or intermittent work can provide the means to make continued enrollment possible in many poor settings. Unambiguous evidence of the negative effects of child labor on learning outcomes is limited but is most persuasive in the case of children of primary school age who combine work and schooling. In many parts of Asia and Latin America, increased numbers of young people have been absorbed into the labor market without any large increase in unemployment rates among youth, despite a rapid rise in the size of cohorts entering the labor force. However, the challenge for youth employment remains substantial in some of the poorer countries of Asia, sub-
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries Saharan Africa, and the Middle East, which are currently experiencing unprecedented growth in the size of their youth populations. Rates of growth in the size of the potential youth labor force (ages 15-24) have now peaked in most countries even though the absolute numbers continue to grow. Because youth opportunities for employment depend on broader economic trends that can vary greatly over time and across countries, significant fluctuations are likely to occur in how well youth are integrated into the labor market in the future. Household poverty is strongly associated with child labor; trends in poverty are an important explanation for trends in child labor. While most young people live in parts of the world in which poverty rates are falling, a rising proportion of young people in sub-Saharan Africa are growing up in poor households. And it is in sub-Saharan Africa where there is evidence that rates of child labor are growing. These trends in sub-Saharan Africa widen the gulf between young Africans and their peers in other parts of the developing world, raising further concerns about Africa’s future prospects. A rising proportion of young women are entering the labor market, particularly in paid employment, but rates of participation among young women still vary widely across the developing world. Thus, for more and more women, adult work roles will include paid employment in the labor market. For an increasing number of young women who have the opportunity to earn money in the labor market before marriage, paid work is likely to mean that they can have greater control in meeting their own needs as well as contributing to family income and, through these changes, they may have greater say in decision-making in the family. More educated young workers have higher earnings, greater job stability, and greater upward mobility over time compared with their less educated peers. These patterns, however, coexist with strong labor market trends toward deregulation and privatization that may have made labor markets more unstable relative to the past. Policy Recommendations Policies and programs with implications for young people’s successful transitions to work in developing countries exist at all levels of action: international, national (both developed and developing country policies), and local. Policies that enhance successful transitions to work include those that attack the root causes of poverty, enhance economic growth, improve learning outcomes in school and on the job, ensure equity of opportunity and pay regardless of race, gender, or class, and prevent harmful and unfair
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries practices. Relatively few of these have been evaluated for their effectiveness. However, basic labor force trends direct attention to various fruitful avenues for intervention. The panel supports the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals relating to the reduction of extreme poverty and the fostering of a global partnership for development. The achievement of these goals will foster a climate in which a higher percentage of youth will be able to attend school into late adolescence, thus avoiding premature work responsibilities and ensuring a more successful transition to adult work roles. Antipoverty programs providing financial assistance to poor families that keep their children in school have been successful in reducing child labor by increasing enrollment. Their cost-effectiveness depends primarily on careful targeting of benefits. The success of these programs in the longer run will need to be judged by whether improvements in education stimulated by these programs lead to declines in poverty in the next generation so that the conditions that fostered child labor are alleviated. Tax, trade, and aid policies in developed countries need to be coordinated so that tax and trade policies do not take away with one hand what is given with the other hand in the form of development assistance. Otherwise, rather than providing value added in addressing issues of poverty and productivity, development assistance can do no more than mitigate the harmful effects of agricultural subsidies and restrictive trade policies on developing country economies and, by extension, on decent and productive job opportunities for youth. Labor market regulations that are commonly enacted in developing countries for the purpose of improving the terms and conditions of employment put youth at a disadvantage in competing for jobs in the formal labor market and encourage the growth of the informal sector. Youth are likely to fare better in a labor market in which employers do not face excessive constraints governing employment contracts. Trade sanctions against products produced with child labor or against countries known to violate international labor standards relating to child labor are likely to do more harm than good in contexts in which poverty is persistent and the family economy still relies on child labor. In the presence of such sanctions, children who need to work have often been forced to find more hazardous work in the unprotected sectors of the economy, with risks to their health and safety.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries Government incentives for firms to invest in training, for training providers to provide high quality and relevant training, and for workers to invest in training have been identified as promising alternatives to the direct government provision of training. Evidence suggests that government-sponsored vocational education and training are often relatively expensive and inefficient at matching training curricula and training opportunities with job demands. Research Recommendations Important research questions remain unanswered: Is globalization changing the types of jobs that child laborers do and the extent of such work? How prevalent are the “unconditionally worst forms of child labor,” including trafficking, forced or bonded labor, armed conflict, prostitution, pornography, and illegal activities? How is their prevalence changing? What are the long-run consequences of child labor for children’s health, education, and well-being? How does combining school attendance with work affect learning outcomes among adolescents attending secondary school? What are the trends in time spent working by age, including domestic work and economic activity? Is the distribution of work by gender being spread more evenly than in the past? How will opportunities for young women to work before marriage affect their timing of marriage, their marital relationship, their agency in marriage, and their probability of working after marriage? With the delay in labor force entry, young people are more mature and more educated when they start to work. As labor force choices become more their own and less those of their parents, what implications will this have for the types of choices they make? Why do better educated women in different settings make such different choices with respect to labor market participation? How are these choices changing? Has the growing tendency toward deregulation and privatization in many labor markets contributed in a positive or negative way to the effective absorption of growing cohorts of young people into the labor force? Do young women, the poor, ethnic minorities, and other disadvantaged groups face more or less discrimination in the labor market than in the past?
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries How can labor market policies encourage employers to invest in on-the-job training for young workers? How do national educational and labor market policies in developed countries affect international labor migration among youth? How do labor market regulations affect the migration of youth to urban areas? How are rates of unemployment and underemployment changing among youth? Do these trends differ by educational attainment?
Representative terms from entire chapter: