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Do school feeding programmes reduce child labour? Evidence from Liberia

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Though there is comprehensive literature on the effectiveness of school feeding in increasing school enrollment and school attendance, little is known about its potential effect on child labor. This paper takes advantage of the 2007 Core Welfare Questionnaire Indicator survey conducted between August and September 2007 in Liberia to assess the causal impact of the School Feeding Programme (SFP) on child labour. Using the propensity score-matching technique, we find that the SFP leads to a statistically significant decrease in child labour estimated at between 14 and 17%. This result is robust to the use of different matching techniques and the choice of covariates used in the estimation of the propensity score. In addition, the analysis reveals that the SFP is mainly effective in reducing child labour for male children, children living in war-displaced households, and children living in households in which the head is literate. Overall, the study shows that the detrimental effect of conflict on child labor can be mitigated by school feeding interventions.

Freedom Fund