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Is Product Boycott a Good Idea for Controlling Child Labor?

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  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

  • Zarghamee, Homa

    (Cornell U)

Abstract

A popular form of action to curb child labor and uphold international labor standards in general is a product boycott by consumers. There are labeling agencies that inform us if, for instance, a carpet or a hand-stitched soccer ball is free of child labor. The presence of a consumer boycott will typically mean that products tainted by child labor will command a lower price on the market than ones certified to be untainted. It is popularly presumed that such consumer activism is desirable. The paper formally investigates this presumption and shows that consumer product boycotts can, in a wide class of situations, have a backlash that causes child labor to rise rather than fall. This happens under weak and plausible assumptions. Hence, there has to be much greater caution in the use of consumer activism and one has to have much more detailed information about the context, where child labor occurs, before using a boycott.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05-14.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:05-14

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  1. Uma Kambhampati, 2004. "Does Child Work Decrease with Parental Income?: The Luxury Axiom Revisited in India," Economics & Management Discussion Papers, Henley Business School, Reading University em-dp2004-02, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  2. Basu, Kaushik, 1999. "The intriguing relation between adult minimum wage and child labor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2173, The World Bank.
  3. Carol Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 2002. "Does Child Labor Decrease When Parental Incomes Rises," Working Papers, Georgetown University, Department of Economics gueconwpa~02-02-02, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Edmonds, Eric V., 2008. "Child Labor," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier.
  6. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The macroeconomics of child labor regulation," Staff Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 354, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Moehling, Carolyn M., 1999. "State Child Labor Laws and the Decline of Child Labor," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 72-106, January.
  8. Ranjan, P., 1999. ""Credit Constraints and the Phenomenon of Child Labor"," Papers, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences 98-99-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  9. Jafarey, Saqib & Lahiri, Sajal, 2002. "Will trade sanctions reduce child labour?: The role of credit markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 137-156, June.
  10. Kaushik Basu, 2004. "Child labor and the Law: Notes on Possible Pathologies," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2052, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Sylvain E. Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2005. "A Theory of the Worst Forms of Child Labour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 68-87, 01.
  12. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1382-1385, December.
  13. Sharma, Alakh N & Sharma, Rajeev & Raj, Nikhil, 2000. "The impact of social labelling on child labour in India's carpet industry," ILO Working Papers, International Labour Organization 365972, International Labour Organization.
  14. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  15. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric Edmonds, 2007. "Child Labor," Working Papers id:988, eSocialSciences.
  2. Horii, Ryo & Sasaki, Masaru, 2008. "Dual Poverty Trap: Intra- and Intergenerational Linkages in Frictional Labor Markets," MPRA Paper 13484, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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