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Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox

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  • Sonia Bhalotra
  • Christopher Heady

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Abstract

This paper is motivated by the remarkable observation that children in land-rich households are often more likely to be in work than the children of land-poor households. The vast majority of working children in developing countries are in agricultural work, predominantly on farms operated by their families. Land is the most important store of wealth in agrarian societies and it is typically distributed very unequally. These facts challenge the common presumption that child labour emerges from the poorest households. This article suggests that this seeming paradox can be explained by failures of the markets for labour and land. Credit market failure will tend to weaken the force of this paradox. These effects are modeled and estimates obtained using survey data from rural Pakistan and Ghana. The main result is that the 'wealth paradox' persists for girls in both countries whereas, for boys, it disappears after conditioning on other covariates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series Bristol Economics Discussion Papers with number 03/553.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:03/553

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Keywords: child labour; land-rich households; wealth paradox;

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References

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  1. Sonia Bhalotra, 2003. "Is Child Work Necessary?," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 03/554, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Jafarey, Saqib & Lahiri, Sajal, 2002. "Will trade sanctions reduce child labour?: The role of credit markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 137-156, June.
  3. Edmonds, Eric V., 2008. "Child Labor," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
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  6. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
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  8. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  9. Deolalikar, Anil B & Vijverberg, Wim P M, 1987. "A Test of Heterogeneity of Family and Hired Labour in Asian Agriculture," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(3), pages 291-305, August.
  10. Patrick M. Emerson & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "Is There a Child Labor Trap? Inter-Generational Persistence of Child Labor in Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0214, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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  12. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
  13. Eric Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Does Globalization Increase Child Labor? Evidence from Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 8760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  15. Martin Browning, 1998. "Modelling commodity demands and labour supply with m-demands," Discussion Papers 99-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  16. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2002. "Parent Altruism," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 25, Royal Economic Society.
  17. Glewwe, Paul, 1996. "The relevance of standard estimates of rates of return to schooling for education policy: A critical assessment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 267-290, December.
  18. John Knight & Sharada Weir, 2000. "Adoption and Diffusion of Agricultural Innovations in Ethiopia: The Role of Education," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  19. Case, Anne & Lin, I-Fen & McLanahan, Sara, 2000. "How Hungry Is the Selfish Gene?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 781-804, October.
  20. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  21. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio Camillo & Tzannatos, Zafiris, 2001. "Child labor, nutrition, and education in rural India : an economic analysis of parental choice and policy options," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24081, The World Bank.
  22. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1994. "A Test for Moral Hazard in the Labor Market: Contractual Arrangements, Effort, and Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 213-27, May.
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