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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. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1492-1524, December.
  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.
  3. Bardhan, Pranab & Udry, Christopher, 1999. "Development Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773719, September.
  4. Emerson, Patrick M & Souza, Andre Portela, 2003. "Is There a Child Labor Trap? Intergenerational Persistence of Child Labor in Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 375-98, January.
  5. 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, vol. 14(2), pages 347-67, May.
  6. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  7. Baland, J.M. & Robinson, J.A., 1998. "A Model of Child Labor," Papers 206, Notre-Dame de la Paix, Sciences Economiques et Sociales.
  8. Edmonds, Eric & Turk, Carrie, 2002. "Child labor in transition in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2774, The World Bank.
  9. Foster, Andrew D. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2004. "Technological change and the distribution of schooling: evidence from green-revolution India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 87-111, June.
  10. Edmonds, Eric V., 2007. "Child Labor," IZA Discussion Papers 2606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  12. Kaushik Basu & Zafiris Tzannatos, 2003. "The Global Child Labor Problem: What Do We Know and What Can We Do?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 147-173, December.
  13. Sonia Bhalotra & Christopher Heady, 2003. "Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 03/553, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  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. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1993. "Shadow Wages and Peasant Family Labour Supply: An Econometric Application to the Peruvian Sierra," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 903-21, October.
  16. Eric V. Edmonds, 2003. "Does Child Labor Decline with Improving Economic Status?," NBER Working Papers 10134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Mueller, Eva, 1984. "The value and allocation of time in rural Botswana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-3), pages 329-360.
  18. 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.
  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. 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.
  21. 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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