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Lifetime Health Consequences of Child Labor in Brazil

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  • Lee, Chanyoung
  • Orazem, Peter

Abstract

The health consequences of child labor may take time to manifest themselves. This study examines whether children who began working at a young age experience increased incidence of illness or physical disability as adults.. When child labor and schooling are treated as chosen without consideration of unobserved abilities or health endowments, child labor appears to have small adverse effects on a wide variety of health measures. Some adverse health consequences such as heart disease or hypertension seem unlikely to be caused by child labor. However, when we allow unobserved health and ability endowments to alter the age of labor market entry and years of schooling completed, the joint effects of child labor and schooling on health become larger while the less plausible health consequences lose significance. Results imply that delaying entry into child labor while increasing time in school significantly lowers the probability of early onset of physical ailments such as back problems, arthritis, or reduced strength or stamina. However, our methods are not able to distinguish between the health impacts of child labor from the impacts of reduced time in school.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 12933.

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Date of creation: 11 May 2008
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Publication status: Published in Research in Labor Economics 2010, vol. 31, pp. 99-133
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12933

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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Keywords: child labor; health; Wages; schooling; school quality; occupational choice;

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  1. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
  2. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 1997. "Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru - An empirical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405.
  3. Esther Duflo, 2002. "The Medium Run Effects of Educational Expansion: Evidence from a Large School Construction Program in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 8710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Bedi, Arjun Singh & Edwards, John H. Y., 2002. "The impact of school quality on earnings and educational returns--evidence from a low-income country," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 157-185, June.
  6. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  7. O.O'Donnel & F.Rosati & E.van Doorslaer, 2002. "Child Labour and Health: Evidence and Research Issues," UCW Working Paper 1, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
  8. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  9. Furio Camillo Rosati & Mariacristina Rossi, 2003. "Children's Working Hours and School Enrollment: Evidence from Pakistan and Nicaragua," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 283-295, December.
  10. Edmonds, Eric V. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2006. "Trade liberalization and the allocation of labor between households and markets in a poor country," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 272-295, July.
  11. Sedlacek, Guilherme & Duryea, Suzanne & Ilahi, Nadeem & Sasaki, Masaru, 2005. "Child labor, schooling, and poverty in Latin America," Social Protection Discussion Papers 32742, The World Bank.
  12. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  13. Edmonds, Eric V. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2005. "The effect of trade liberalization on child labor," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 401-419, March.
  14. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "Assessing the Impact of a School Subsidy Program in Mexico: Using a Social Experiment to Validate a Dynamic Behavioral Model of Child Schooling and Fertility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1384-1417, December.
  15. Edmonds, Eric V., 2006. "Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 386-414, December.
  16. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1980. "Neoclassical Theory and the Optimizing Peasant: An Econometric Analysis of Market Family Labor Supply in a Developing Country," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 31-55, February.
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