Consequences of Family-Building Strategies and Household Composition on Schooling and Child Labor in Urban Burkina Faso

Last updated October 2009
Jean-François Kobiané

Improvements in children’s learning and school attainment are of great importance for the long-term development prospects of sub-Saharan Africa. The proposed project aims to study the impact of family-building patterns on investments in children’s schooling—the validity of the dilution hypothesis and quality-quantity tradeoff—in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso. In addition, the project will investigate the degree to which children’s schooling and work, and the transition from schooling to full-time work, are influenced by family size and by the presence and activities of other family members.

Secondary objectives of the project include exploring issues of inequality related to the effect of the quality-quantity tradeoff on poverty and inequality within households and across society; and identifying the influence of social networks, family transfers, and child fostering on the relationship between family composition, schooling, and work decisions. As available surveys from African countries do not provide adequate data to study these topics, this project will field a retrospective survey that will also form the baseline of a panel data series, and which will be expressly designed to address these issues. Information on exogenous factors affecting family size and schooling-work decisions—subsequent infertility and shocks—will be collected to deal with possible endogeneity biases. Also, data on all children and youth residing in the household or fostered out will allow for the control for effects of unobserved factors at the household level. Ultimately, a better understanding of linkages between household strategies and behaviors with regard to fertility and family composition, child labor, and schooling, and entry into the labor market is essential for designing more effective, evidence-based policies and interventions in these areas.

Contact Information:
Jean-François Kobiané,, Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP), Université de Ouagadougou