Quality & Quantity

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 2175–2197 | Cite as

Women’s decision making power and child labor: evidence from Pakistan

  • Muhammad Tariq MajeedEmail author
  • Faiza Kiran


The quality of life of a child depends on the decision of parents about the allocation choices of their child’s time between education and work. In particular, the mother of a child can play a significant role in enhancing the quality of life of her kids given that she has the right of participation in decision making in family life. This research is based on the belief that child labor is detrimental to human capital accumulation and women’s decision-making power plays an important role in economic development by enhancing human capital of the future generation. This study contributes to the literature by addressing the question: How women take part in the decision making process and how women’s decisions influence their children. Women’s decision making power is gauged by using a set of different measures from Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey 2013–2014, which inquires directly who in the household makes decisions on some key matters, such as women’s education and employment, uptake of fertility regulating methods, the number of children and purchase of household consumption items. Our study uses logistic regression technique to empirically test the relationship between women’s decision making power and child labor. The findings of study suggest that empowering women by increasing their ability to make decisions on some key issues of the family matters decreases the probability of child labor in Pakistan. Among all the measures of women’s decision making power, the participation of women in decisions of family size has a larger effect on child labor. Moreover, gender heterogeneity in the reduction of child labor also exists as women’s decision making power leaves different impacts on boys and girls. The results are statistically significant across various specifications. Hence, empowering women through the decision-making process of the family life can help to reduce child labor in the society.


Women’s decision making power Child labor Human development 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

It is to state that “we do not have any conflict of interest and this research is not sponsored by any organization”.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EconomicsQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan

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