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Why Is Child Labor Illegal?

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  • Dessy, Sylvain

    ()
    (Université Laval)

  • Knowles, John

    ()
    (University of Southampton)

Abstract

We present a theory of the emergence of laws restricting child labor or imposing mandatory education that is consistent with the fact that poor parents tend to oppose such laws. We find that if altruistic parents are unable to commit to educating their children, child-labor laws can increase the welfare of higher-income parents in an ex ante sense. On the basis of an empirical analysis of Latin-American household surveys, we demonstrate that per capita income in the country of residence has the predicted effect on child labor supply, even after controlling for other household characteristics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2901.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2901

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Keywords: macroeconomic analyses of economic development; labor force composition;

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References

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  1. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  2. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1492-1524, December.
  3. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert F. Tamura, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1384-1417, December.
  5. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Consumption-Savings Decisions with Quasi-Geometric Discounting," GSIA Working Papers, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business 2001-05, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  6. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  7. Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research 1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  9. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  10. Zvi Eckstein & Itzhak Zilcha, 1991. "The Effects of Compulsory Schooling on Growth, Income Distribution and Welfare," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development 20, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  11. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers, Brown University, Department of Economics 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  12. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  13. Matthias Doepke, . "Origins and Consequences of Child Labor Restrictions: A Macroeconomic Perspective," UCLA Economics Online Papers, UCLA Department of Economics 413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-75, October.
  15. Fang, Hanming & Silverman, Dan, 2004. "On the compassion of time-limited welfare programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1445-1470, July.
  16. Dessy, Sylvain E., 2000. "A defense of compulsive measures against child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 261-275, June.
  17. Karine S. Moe, 1998. "Fertility, Time Use, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 699-718, July.
  18. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  19. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  20. Glomm, Gerhard, 1997. "Parental choice of human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-114, June.
  21. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, 09.
  22. Dahan, Momi & Gaviria, Alejandro, 2001. "Sibling Correlations and Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 537-54, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Matthias Doepke, . "Origins and Consequences of Child Labor Restrictions: A Macroeconomic Perspective," UCLA Economics Online Papers, UCLA Department of Economics 413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Dirk Krueger & Jessica Tjornhom Donohue, 2007. "On The Distributional Consequences Of Child Labor Legislation," Working Papers id:975, eSocialSciences.
  3. Chaudhuri, Sanjukta, 2009. "The School Going Child Worker: An Analysis of Poverty, Asset Inequality and Child Education in Rural India," MPRA Paper 19687, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Fabrizio Zilibotti & Matthias Doepke, 2009. "Do International Labor Standards Contribute to the Persistence of the Child Labor Problem?," 2009 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 157, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Irving Rosales, 2013. "Learn, sweat or steal: a theory of development and the activity of children," Working Papers, Universidad Iberoamericana, Department of Economics 0613, Universidad Iberoamericana, Department of Economics.
  6. Michele Di Maio & Giorgio Fabbri, 2013. "Consumer boycott, household heterogeneity, and child labor," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 1609-1630, October.
  7. Sylvain Dessy & Tiana Rambeloma, 2009. "Immigration Policy, Remittances, and Growth in the Migrant-Sending Country," Cahiers de recherche, CIRPEE 0915, CIRPEE.

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