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Abstract

Children have always been working in industries and enterprises, in shops and stores, on farms and plantations, in domestic homes and habitats, on roads and streets, and in restaurants and hotels. There is by now a virtually unanimous view that poverty is the main, although not the only, cause of child labour. Even altruistic parents who care about the welfare of their children can thus be forced to see their children working because of poverty. If work participation exceeds an acceptable threshold level, the normal development of children could be seriously affected. The main aim of this paper is to provide empirical evidence on the link between asset ownership and child work in the context of a subsistence rural economy. The results show that most children in rural Ethiopia perform some form of work either in the house or on the farm. Although access to physical asset is expected to raise household income and create an incentive for school attendance, it might reduce school attendance and increase the probability of work unless accompanied by technological development. Policies that encourage school participation and help to improve the income generating potential of households and the provision of productive assets to create a more stable economic base are needed to reduce the engagement of children in work activities.

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