Product boycott a good idea for controlling child labor? A theoretical investigation
AbstractA 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 an adverse reaction 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 InfoPaper provided by Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India in its series Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers with number 08-09.
Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
child labor; product boycott; labor standards;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O12 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
- D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
- K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
- J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
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