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Education, Child Labor and Human Capital Formation in Selected Urban and Rural Settings of Pakistan

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Abdul Salam Lodhi

Education is essential for human resource development and sustainable socio-economic development of a society, as it can facilitate economic growth through the broader application of knowledge, skills, and the creative strength of a society. The other positive and long-term outcomes of education include the reduction of poverty and inequality, improvement of health status and good governance in the implementation of socio-economic policies. Keeping in view the role that education through human capital formation can play in the development of Pakistan where the population of the children below 14 years old is about 35 percent of the total population; this study aims at delineating the factors that are obstructing the educational activities of the children below the age of 14 years. Furthermore, the main research interest in this study was to see how pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors are impeding the process of human capital formation. The results indicate that variables such as parental education and perceptions of secular and non-secular education, role of mother in domestic authority, believe in tribal norms, religiosity of the head-of-household, child age and gender, and proximity to school are playing a significant role in the choice of childhood activities.

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1 Introduction

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Education is essential for human resource development and a necessary element for the sustainable socio-economic development of a society, as it can facilitate economic growth through the broader application of knowledge, skills, and the creative strength of a society. The positive long-term outcomes of education include the reduction of poverty and inequality, improvement of public health and good governance in the implementation of socio-economic policies. Previous studies on the role of education in economic growth have suggested that education enhances human capital formation, which is positively associated with economic development and growth (Schultz, 1960; Nelson and Edmund, 1966; Mankiw et al., 1992; Barro, 2001; Krueger and Lindahl, 2001). More recently, Sianesi and Reenen (2003) reported that besides the direct effects, education indirectly influences economic growth by stimulating the accumulation of productive inputs such as physical capital, technology, and health. In turn, such inputs can mitigate the factors obstructing economic growth, including population growth and infant mortality. Therefore, the multifaceted impacts of education render it an essential element of development policy. Considering the effect of education on economic development and growth, studies have highlighted that the impact of different education levels (primary, secondary and higher) depends on the stage of development and economic growth rate of a country. According to Petrakis and Stamatakis (2002), primary and secondary education is more important for growth in developing countries, whereas higher education is more relevant for economically developed countries. Self and Grabowski (2004) found a strong causal relationship between primary education and economic growth...

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