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Child Labor and Household Wealth: Theory and Empirical Evidence of an Inverted-U

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  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Cornell U)

  • Das, Sanghamitra

    (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

  • Dutta, Bhaskar

    (Warwick U)

Abstract

Some studies on child labor have shown that greater land wealth leads to higher child labor, thereby casting doubt on the hypothesis that child labor is caused by poverty. This paper argues that the missing ingredient is an explicit modeling of the labor market. We develop a simple model which suggests an inverted-U relationship between land holdings and child labor. A unique data set from India that has child labor hours information confirms this hypothesis. It is shown that the turning point beyond which more land leads to a decline in child labor occurs at 3.6 acres of land per household, which is well below the observed maximum value of land-holding.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics in its series Working Papers with number 07-02.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:07-02

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  1. Bhalotra, Sonia & Heady, Christopher, 2001. "Child farm labour : the wealth paradox," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24088, The World Bank.
  2. Marco Manacorda, 2003. "Child Labor and the Labor Supply of Other Household Members: Evidence from 1920 America," CEP Discussion Papers dp0590, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  7. Basu, Kaushik & Tzannatos, Zafiris, 2003. "The Global Child Labor Problem: What Do We Know and What Can We Do?," Working Papers, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics 03-06, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  8. Bardhan, Pranab & Udry, Christopher, 1999. "Development Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773719, October.
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  10. Chernichovsky, Dov, 1985. "Socioeconomic and Demographic Aspects of School Enrollment and Attendance in Rural Botswana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 319-32, January.
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  14. Jacoby, H.G., 1990. "Shadow Wages And Peasant Family Labor Supply; An Econometric Application To The Peruvian Sierra," Papers, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement 73, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  15. Ray, Ranjan, 2000. "Child Labor, Child Schooling, and Their Interaction with Adult Labor: Empirical Evidence for Peru and Pakistan," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 347-67, May.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Foster, Andrew D. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2004. "Technological change and the distribution of schooling: evidence from green-revolution India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 87-111, June.
  19. 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.
  20. Christelle Dumas, 2007. "Why do parents make their children work? A test of the poverty hypothesis in rural areas of Burkina Faso," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(2), pages 301-329, April.
  21. Edmonds, Eric & Turk, Carrie, 2002. "Child labor in transition in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2774, The World Bank.
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