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

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Author Info

  • Basu, Kaushik

    ()
    (World Bank)

  • Das, Sanghamitra

    ()
    (Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Dutta, Bhaskar

    ()
    (University of Warwick)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2736.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Development Economics, 2010, 91 (1), 8 - 14
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2736

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Keywords: labor markets; child labor; land-holding; education;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The macroeconomics of child labor regulation," Staff Report 354, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Baland, J.M. & Robinson, J.A., 1998. "A Model of Child Labor," Papers 9803, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  4. Mueller, Eva, 1984. "The value and allocation of time in rural Botswana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-3), pages 329-360.
  5. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  6. 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.
  7. Marco Manacorda, 2006. "Child Labor and the Labor Supply of Other Household Members: Evidence from 1920 America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1788-1801, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  10. Jacoby, H.G., 1990. "Shadow Wages And Peasant Family Labor Supply; An Econometric Application To The Peruvian Sierra," Papers 73, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  11. Eric Edmonds, 2007. "Child Labor," Working Papers id:988, eSocialSciences.
  12. 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.
  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. Bardhan, Pranab & Udry, Christopher, 1999. "Development Microeconomics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773719.
  15. Edmonds, Eric & Turk, Carrie, 2002. "Child labor in transition in Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2774, The World Bank.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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