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Determinants of child labor in the modern United States: Evidence from agricultural workers and their children and concerns for ongoing public policy

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Author Info

  • Maoyong Fan

    ()
    (Ball State University)

  • Mimi Houston

    ()
    (Colorado State University)

  • Anita Alves Pena

    ()
    (Colorado State University)

Abstract

Current legislative proposals consider amendments to child labor laws for U.S. agriculture. Similar amendments, however, have been unsuccessful previously. Using the National Agricultural Workers Survey, we show that child labor is still substantial in the modern U.S. despite some decreases over time, and argue that the lack of success of recent child labor policy initiatives has left some young workers vulnerable. We use the limited data that are available to examine determinants of farm and off-farm child labor in the U.S. and to consider correlations between child labor and participation in educational and welfare programs at the family level. As a majority of literature on child labor stems from international contexts, this research lessens that gap by presenting the U.S. case from the perspective of a key industry sector while informing ongoing discussion pertaining to possible revisions of child labor laws and providing support for continued and expanded data collection.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2014/Volume34/EB-14-V34-I1-P29.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 34 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 287-306

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-13-00737

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Related research

Keywords: Agricultural workers; Child labor; Public policy; Labor regulation; United States;

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References

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  1. Nielsen, H.S., 1998. "Child Labor and School Attendance: Two Joint Decisions," Papers 98-15, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  2. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 1997. "Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru - An empirical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405.
  3. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1982. "Educational Subsidy, Agricultural Development, and Fertility Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 67-88, February.
  4. DeGraff, Deborah S & Bilsborrow, Richard E, 1993. "Female-Headed Households and Family Welfare in Rural Ecuador," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-36, November.
  5. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
  6. Eric V. Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2005. "Child Labor in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 199-220, Winter.
  7. Jensen, P. & Nielsen, H.S., 1996. "Child Labour or School Attendance? Evidence from Zambia," Papers 96-14, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  8. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  9. Theodore W. Schultz, 1960. "Capital Formation by Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68, pages 571.
  10. Arnab K. Basu & Nancy H. Chau, 2004. "Exploitation of Child Labor and the Dynamics of Debt Bondage," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 209-238, 06.
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