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Children's Work and Schooling in the Late Nineteenth-Century Family Economy

Patrick M. Horan and Peggy G. Hargis
American Sociological Review
Vol. 56, No. 5 (Oct., 1991), pp. 583-596
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096081
Page Count: 14
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Children's Work and Schooling in the Late Nineteenth-Century Family Economy
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Abstract

The concept of a family economy plays an important role in theory and research on the social impact of industrialization. Using family-level data from an 1890 survey of working class families in the U.S., we analyze the impact of the family economy on the school and work activities of children. Our analysis differentiates the family economy from the local economy and regional factors. Four hypotheses derived from family economy theory predict the allocation of children's time to school and work. Our results lend strong empirical support for all hypotheses. In particular, we found that higher levels of family resources and lower levels of demand on those resources are associated with higher rates of children's participation in school and lower rates of children's participation in wage labor. These effects are stable after controls are introduced for family demographic composition, local economy, and region.

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