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Targeting Child Labor in Debt Bondage: Evidence, Theory, and Policy Implications

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  • Arnab K. Basu
  • Nancy H. Chau

Abstract

Despite recent multilateral efforts to single out child labor in debt bondage as one of the worst forms of child labor, several important questions have yet to be addressed: How pervasive is the phenomenon? Are there systematic correlations between the incidence of children in debt bondage and the economic, legislative, and financial development indicators of the economy? How does an understanding of these correlates affect the way national and international policy measures aimed at targeting this form of child labor are perceived? This article addresses each of these questions. The empirical findings suggest strong correlation between the likelihood of the incidence of child labor in debt bondage with the stage of development of an economy, the stage of financial development, and enforcement of core labor rights. Building on this evidence, the article presents a theoretical model that highlights the drawbacks and merits of a number of policies aimed at putting checks on child labor in debt bondage. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 17 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 255-281

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:17:y:2003:i:2:p:255-281

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Wendy Olsen, 2006. "Pluralist Methodology for Development Economics: The Example of Moral Economy of Indian Labour Markets," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-053, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Chau, Nancy, 2009. "Sweatshop Equilibrium," IZA Discussion Papers 4363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Toman Omar Mahmoud & Christoph Trebesch, 2009. "The Economic Drivers of Human Trafficking: Micro-Evidence from Five Eastern European Countries," Kiel Working Papers 1480, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. Omar Mahmoud, Toman, 2010. "Shocks, income diversification and welfare in developing and transition countries," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 59754, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  6. Rogers Carol Ann & Swinnerton Kenneth A, 2005. "A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor," Labor and Demography 0510006, EconWPA.
  7. Basu, Arnab K., 2011. "Impact of Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes on Seasonal Labor Markets: Optimum Compensation and Workers' Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 5701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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