Factors determining paid and unpaid work in young adults: Evidence from a cohort study in Bihar, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Early age at entry into the workforce makes it difficult for adolescents to obtain higher education and skills necessary for decent work and a better life. This study examines the factors determining engagement in paid and unpaid work and the age at entry into the workforce among young adults aged 23–27 years in Bihar, India, who were previously interviewed at the age of 15–19 years. The data were derived from the Understanding the Lives of Adolescents and Young Adults (UDAYA) in a sample of 2923 respondents. Young boys had significantly higher work participation than girls. Unmarried boys and girls started doing paid work earlier than married girls. A higher percentage of adolescents from the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward classes engaged in paid or unpaid work in young adulthood as compared to the General Caste. Children of educated mothers were more likely to delay their entry into the workforce. Adolescents who had attained 10–12 years (0.51, p < 0.01) and 12+ years (0.54, p < 0.01) of schooling until adulthood were less likely to have done paid work in young adulthood as compared to their uneducated counterparts. Young persons who received some vocational training (1.83, p < 0.01) and who had heard of the scheme of employment (1.66, p < 0.01) were more likely to be engaged in paid work. Higher levels of schooling and vocational training had delayed their entry into the workforce.