Education and child care. Experience for Colombian mothers and children, 2003, with Rocio Ribero, Desarrollo y Sociedad 56:67-102. Universidad de los Andes, Colombia (In Spanish) (Download)
We analyze how mother’s time allocations and household characteristics affect the children’s quality of life. Children development is seen from two perspectives: education and childcare. Regarding education we consider school attendance and overage, i.e., the delay with respect to grade given the child’s age. Regarding childcare we examine how parents choose among the various alternatives to take care of the child during the time he or she is not at school. The mother’s labor force participation and the father’s presence at home are determinant and significant for all the cases, it increases the school attendance and diminishes the possibility of delay. However, when the mother works extra hours the children’s quality of life diminishes. The mother’s education is a very important input to raise children with a good quality of life and it also helps parents in choosing the better childcare alternatives.
"Child Disciplining, Domestic Violence and Social Programs: Evidence from Colombia" (Job Market Paper), PSE Working Papers N 2016-10. (Download)
Early childhood interventions are high on the social policy agenda. Yet their impact on discipline practices is scarce. This paper examines how early childhood interventions affect disciplining methods in Colombia, where poor households are eligible for different social programs based on a proxy means index. Using a regression discontinuity design, I found that benefiting on a larger extent of child care, nutritional programs and health checks, decreases father's use of physical discipline. Using a different data set and through a propensity score matching, I show that being exposed longer to a child care service move mothers towards non-physical methods. Featured in Development Impact World Bank Blog, World Economic Forum Agenda and Primeros Pasos Blog of the IDB
"Measuring Women's Empowerment: lessons to better understand domestic violence", PSE Working Papers N 2016-04. (Download)
This paper aims at shedding light on the relationship between women's empowerment and domestic violence. For this, we explore different ways to measure women's empowerment and domestic violence, and analyze how responsive is the relation based on the definition we used. We take advantage of a rich data set collected in rural Colombia, including several measures of self-esteem, disagreement towards domestic violence, participation in household decisions and social capital; and analyze the relationship with both, aggressive and controlling ways of domestic violence. Our results suggest that the different measures of women's empowerment help explain much better the aggressive ways of domestic violence, as compared to the controlling ones. Women's autonomy appears to be better captured by the social capital dimension of women's empowerment, together with women's self-determination. We did not find that more common proxies, such as women's participation in household decisions, are significantly correlated to domestic violence. Featured in Gente Saludable Blog of the IDB
"Child Education and Work Choices in the Presence of a Conditional Cash Transfer Programme in Rural Colombia", with Orazio Attanasio, Emla Fitzsimons, Ana Gomez, Costas Meghir and Alice Mesnard. IFS Working Papers , W06/01 (Download)
The paper studies the effects of Familias en Acción, a conditional cash transfer program implemented in rural areas in Colombia in 2002, on school enrollment and child labor. Using a quasi-experimental approach, our methodology makes use of an interesting feature of the data, which allows us to identify anticipation effects. Our results show that the program increased school participation of 14 to 17 year old children quite substantially, by between 5 and 7 percentage points, and had lower, but non-negligible effects on enrollment of younger children of between around 1.5 and 2.5 percentage points. In terms of work, the effects are generally largest for younger children whose participation in domestic work decreased by around 10 to 12 percentage points after the program but whose participation in income-generating work remained largely unaffected by the program. We also find evidence of school and work time not being fully substitutable, suggesting that some, but not all, of the increased time at school may be drawn from children’s leisure time.
Work in Progress
"Children's and Parents' Time Use: Evidence from a Social Safety Net in Rural Colombia?" (with Alice Mesnard)
This paper studies how a Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program in Colombia affects time allocation of children and parents. Using a Diff-in-Diff identification strategy, we compare treatment and control municipalities between baseline (2002) and first follow up (2003). Our results show that the program helps reducing children's working time, as well as increasing children's time spent in school activities. Interestingly, the decrease in children's working time is driven by households with economically active mothers. Our results also suggest that mothers are the ones playing a substitution role, particularly in household chores. Digging into the possible mechanisms, we show that our results are driven by children living in municipalities where mother's wages are lower as compared to children’s wages. Availability of a cheap substitute to child labor appears to be a key element to increase the effectiveness of CCTs at reducing child labor.
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