This study uses household-level panel data from a nationally representative survey to estimate the effect of agricultural productivity shocks—as proxied by exogenous annual rainfall deviations—on education expenditures and children’s work status in rural India. We find that a transitory increase in rainfall significantly reduces education expenditures and increases the likelihood of child labor across multiple work activities. Additionally, households owning land and those with better credit access increase the use of child labor as rainfall increases because labor (and land) markets are incomplete. The effects of productivity shocks are reinforced for marginalized castes and for less educated households, thereby exacerbating inequalities in education.
- Smriti Sharma, Naveen Sunder
- Economic Development and Cultural Change