Economics of time allocation of children in Vietnam
Tseng, for their patience in listening to my complaints and helping me to sort out my thoughts. They definitely lifted my flagging morale when times were tough. My special thanks go to Gyung-ae Ha who provided her listening ears and delicious Korean food. My thanks are also due to many of my unnamed friends who provided delicious Chinese food to lift my spirits. Financial assistance from the NCDS has made the collection of the much needed information and data possible. Facilities provided by
... ties provided by the Economics Program in the RSSS are acknowledged. I dedicate this dissertation to my mother and sisters for their endless support and their tolerance of my ruthless decision to neglect my responsibilities to pursue my PhD studies. Abstract The thesis is concerned with the time allocation of children in Vietnam. It asks the question: How do children's contributions (by providing work and housework hours) impact on their own schooling behaviour and the time allocation of other household members, especially that of the mother? Part I of the thesis confirms the significant contribution of children to households and the economy as a whole. Part II investigates the determinants of the time allocation behaviour of children both in terms of their participation choice and the hours used. Part El focuses on children and their schooling behaviour and investigates the impact of children's contributions on their education. Part IV develops other results derived from Part I and II. It contains an investigation of the observed regional differences of children's time use behaviour and of the impact of children's contributions on the time use behaviour of the mother. The results of this thesis highlight the significant contribution of children. Among the surveyed households, children between 5 and 15 years of age contributed about 11 percent and 18 percent of work hours and housework hours respectively. Comparing the contribution of mothers and children, the children's contribution is about half of that of the mothers in work hours and 68 percent in housework hours. This thesis also establishes a close relationship between children's own demographic characteristics, parental and household characteristics, and their participation and time use behaviour. vi The trade-off between a child's work and schooling has been well documented. Nonetheless, little is known about the relationship between schooling and economic activities, namely, work and housework, if we allow the possibility of children combining activities with schooling. This thesis contributes towards such understanding. We find that an increasing number of children leave school and participate in other activities. Also, even for children in school, most diversify into different activities. The most common mode of combination is schooling and housework for school children. As for children no longer in school, combining work and housework is most popular. Given these findings, what are the implications for children's schooling decisions? This thesis argues that children combining schooling with other activities could be viewed as an adjustment mechanism on the part of the households to reduce the indirect cost of education. The puzzle then is why many children are not in school much beyond primary education given such an adjustment mechanism. Several explanations are put forward: 1) Education beyond primary school may not be a good investment due to the low internal rate of return especially if the indirect cost of education is included; 2) parents' education and household income are crucial in explaining the observed puzzle; 3) children's housework hours may not be valued as much as their work hours; therefore, parents have an incentive to keep children from school so that children can provide more work hours. One interesting result derived from Part I and II is that the regional differences play an important part in explaining children's participation and time use behaviour. The thesis investigates the issue further and finds that a significant amount of the predicted probability gap in different activities in North and South Vietnam is explained by the unexplained component. This suggests that most observed differences in children's time vii allocation behaviour in the two regions may be attributed to the historical development of the nation. Different institutions in place in the two regions in the past may have shaped different attitudes. The attitudinal differences may have been passed on from the parents and affect how children in the two regions spend their time. The thesis also extends a 2-person household time allocation model to include children explicitly. This allows us to explore the children's role as enabling labour in the household. Our findings indicate that by providing housework hours, children's time is substitutable for that of the mother, allowing her to increase her work hours. However, the magnitude of the increased work hours provided by the mother due to such a cross substitution is not large.