The Abuelita Effect: The Impact of Grandparents on Children’s Schooling and Work in Latin America

Mary Arends-Kuenning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Suzanne Duryea, Inter-American Development Bank

Recent U.S. evidence suggests that children living with single mothers and at least one grandparent attain as much schooling as children living with two parents. We examine whether this positive effect of living with grandparents is also found in Latin America, specifically looking at school attendance, child labor, and school attainment for adolescents aged 14 to 16. This work builds on our earlier work (Arends-Kuenning and Duryea 2006), which showed that living in a single-mother household significantly reduced the probability that a child attended school in four Latin American countries. We will use the World Bank Living Standards Measurement Surveys (LSMS) for Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama. These data sets are unique for their inclusion of detailed information about household relationships. We are able to identify maternal and paternal grandparents and to distinguish between households headed by grandparents and households headed by parents who live with their parents.

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Presented in Session 154: Child Labor and School Outcomes