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A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor

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Abstract

We develop a model of exploitative child labor with two key features: first, parents have imperfect information about whether employment opportunities available to their children are exploitative or not. Second, firms choose whether or not to exploit their child workers. In our model, a ban on exploitative child labor is desirable, because it resolves the problem of imperfect information faced by parents, and therefore leads to Pareto efficiency. We also find that a ban leads to an increase in the wages of child workers, and that firm profits, even for firms that do not exploit child workers, fall. Finally, a ban has ambiguous effects at the macroeconomic level: aggregate child employment and aggregate output can rise or fall.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~02-02-03.

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Date of creation: 03 Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~02-02-03

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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
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Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Postal: Marcia Suss Administrative Officer Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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References

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  1. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  2. Arnab K. Basu & Nancy H. Chau, 2003. "Targeting Child Labor in Debt Bondage: Evidence, Theory, and Policy Implications," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 255-281, December.
  3. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  4. Dessy, Sylvain E. & Pallage, Stephane, 2001. "Child labor and coordination failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 469-476, August.
  5. 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.
  6. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  7. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-40, October.
  8. Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1997. "An Essay on Economic Efficiency and Core Labour Standards," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 73-86, 01.
  9. Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
  10. Kenneth A. Swinnerton & Carol Ann Rogers, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," Labor and Demography 9903002, EconWPA.
  11. Swinnerton, Kenneth A, 1996. "Minimum Wages in an Equilibrium Search Model with Diminishing Returns to Labor in Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 340-55, April.
  12. Genicot, Garance, 2002. "Bonded labor and serfdom: a paradox of voluntary choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-127, February.
  13. Sylvain Dessy & Désiré Vencatachellum, 2002. "Explaining Cross-Country Differences in Policy Response to Child Labour," Cahiers de recherche 02-03, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
  14. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "Inequality, Productivity, and Child Labor," Labor and Demography 9907003, EconWPA, revised 30 Jul 1999.
  15. 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.
  16. Sylvain Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2003. "The Economics of Child Trafficking," Cahiers de recherche 0323, CIRPEE.
  17. Sylvain E. Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2005. "A Theory of the Worst Forms of Child Labour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 68-87, 01.
  18. Natalia T. Tamirisa & R. B. Johnston, 1998. "Why Do Countries Use Capital Controls?," IMF Working Papers 98/181, International Monetary Fund.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Irving Rosales, 2013. "Learn, sweat or steal: a theory of development and the activity of children," Working Papers 0613, Universidad Iberoamericana, Department of Economics.
  2. Jorge Soares, 2009. "Welfare Impact of a Ban on Child Labor," Working Papers 08-01, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  3. Sylvain Dessy & Caroline Orset & Legrand Yémélé Kana, 2012. "The Global Fight against Child Trafficking: How Can It Be Won ?," Cahiers de recherche 1213, CIRPEE.
  4. Sylvain Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2003. "The Economics of Child Trafficking," Cahiers de recherche 0323, CIRPEE.
  5. Sylvain E. Dessy & Flaubert Mbiekop & Stéphane Pallage, 2005. "The Economics of Child Trafficking (Part II)," Cahiers de recherche 0509, CIRPEE.
  6. Chau, Nancy, 2009. "Sweatshop Equilibrium," IZA Discussion Papers 4363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A Swinnerton, 2005. "Slave Redemption When it Takes Time to Redeem Slaves," Development and Comp Systems 0510006, EconWPA.
  8. Ronald B. Davies, 2000. "Abstinence from Child Labor and Profit Seeking," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2000-1, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Aug 2002.
  9. Del Carpio, Ximena V. & Loayza, Norman V., 2012. "The impact of wealth on the amount and quality of child labor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5959, The World Bank.
  10. Bernd Beber & Christopher Blattman, 2010. "The Industrial Organization of Rebellion: The Logic of Forced Labor and Child Soldiering," HiCN Working Papers 72, Households in Conflict Network.
  11. Caroline Orset, 2008. "A Theory of Child Protection against Kidnapping," Cahiers de recherche 0816, CIRPEE.

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