Italian children at work, 1881-1961
AbstractThis paper quantifies the extent and the main characteristics of child work in Italy during the years 1881-1961. From population censuses, we created a new database of the economically active population aged 10-14 by gender, region, and economic sector. We find that child work incidence declined sharply over time, from 64.3 percent in 1881 to 3.6 percent in 1961. This pattern holds true both nationally and within regions. The new body of evidence we provide casts serious doubts on international comparisons which portray post-war Italy as a country with peculiarly high employment rates for children. Our findings also challenge the view that the initial phases of industrialization had a negative impact on the living standards of Italian children. We show that, in the case of Italy, industrialization coincided with a decline in the employment of children. Our analysis of the determinants of child work suggests that (i) changes in the allocation of total active population among productive sectors explain only a small amount of changes in the employment of children; (ii) changes in labor and compulsory-schooling legislation indicates that the impact of institutions on child labor was modest until the late 1930s. Overall, the increasing GDP per head was probably the main, but not the only, driving force behind declining child work incidence.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme) in its series UCW Working Paper with number 35.
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-02-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2008-02-23 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-LAB-2008-02-23 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Vecchi, Giovanni & Coppola, Michela, 2006.
"Nutrition and growth in Italy, 1861-1911: What macroeconomic data hide,"
Explorations in Economic History,
Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 438-464, July.
- Giovanni Vecchi & Michela Coppola, 2004. "Nutrition And Growth In Italy, 1861-1911 What Macroeconomic Data Hide," Working Papers in Economic History wh043101, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
- Duryea, Suzanne & Lam, David & Levison, Deborah, 2007. "Effects of economic shocks on children's employment and schooling in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 188-214, September.
- Ranjan, P., 1999.
""Credit Constraints and the Phenomenon of Child Labor","
98-99-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
- Müller, Adrian, 2008.
"Clarifying Poverty Decomposition,"
Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008
30, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
- Guarcelllo, Lorenzo & Mealli, Fabrizia & Rosati, Furio Camillo, 2003.
"Household vulnerability and child labor : the effect of shocks, credit rationing and insurance,"
Social Protection Discussion Papers
29136, The World Bank.
- Lorenzo Guarcello & Fabrizia Mealli & Furio Rosati, 2010. "Household vulnerability and child labor: the effect of shocks, credit rationing, and insurance," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 169-198, January.
- L.Guarcello & F.Mealli & F.Rosati, 2002. "Household Vulnerability and Child Labour: the Effect of Shocks, Credit Rationing and Insurance," UCW Working Paper 3, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
- Skoufias, Emmanual & Parker, Susan W., 2002.
"Labor market shocks and their impacts on work and schooling,"
129, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Skoufias, Emmanual & Parker, Susan W., 2002. "Labor market shocks and their impacts on work and schooling," FCND discussion papers 129, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005.
"The macroeconomics of child labor regulation,"
354, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Moehling, Carolyn M., 1999. "State Child Labor Laws and the Decline of Child Labor," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 72-106, January.
- Kaushik Basu, 1999.
"Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
- Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
- Dirk Krueger & Jessica Tjornhom Donohue, 2004.
"On the Distributional Consequences of Child Labor Legislation,"
NBER Working Papers
10347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dirk Krueger & Jessica Tjornhom Donohue, 2005. "On The Distributional Consequences Of Child Labor Legislation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(3), pages 785-815, 08.
- Dirk Krueger & Jessica Tjornhom Donohue, 2007. "On The Distributional Consequences Of Child Labor Legislation," Working Papers id:975, eSocialSciences.
- 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.
- 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.
- Andrea Brandolini & Giovanni Vecchi, 2011. "The Well-Being of Italians: A Comparative Historical Approach," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 19, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gabriella Breglia).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.