The Impact of Public Works Programme on Child Labour in Ethiopia

Yonatan Dinku*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Given the conventional wisdom that poverty and associated income shocks are the fundamental causes of child labour, from a policy perspective, there is a perception that social safety net programmes can play a vital role in reducing child labour. While there is extensive evidence that shows the prevalence of child labour is low among beneficiaries of conditional cash transfer programmes, the impact of workfare programs on child labour has been rarely investigated in the economics literature. This paper addresses the issue by evaluating the impact of the public works component of the Productive Safety Net Programme implemented in Ethiopia in 2005. The programme aims to help poor households to build assets and develop resilience to shocks through employment in public projects. Results from child fixed effects estimations show that children in programme beneficiary households are significantly less likely than their counterparts in non-beneficiary households to be involved in child labour. The findings suggest that, if well targeted, even safety net programmes that do not primarily target child outcomes can be useful in addressing child labour problems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)283-301
    Number of pages19
    JournalSouth African Journal of Economics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


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