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Child labor : what have we learnt?

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  • Sonia Bhalotra, and Zafiris Tzannatos

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to review what has been learnt from the growing volume of applied research on child labor and to indicate directions for future research. We start by looking at research by the World Bank, which has played a fairly pioneering role in this area in data collection and, increasingly, in data analysis, more recently in cooperation with other agencies, such as the ILO and UNICEF. With a view to guiding policy interventions in this area, we attempt to identify the patterns which arise from the study of a wide range of countries. We emphasize that the current state of empirical research makes this task difficult: A striking feature of available research is the sheer variety of results that it has produced. This review discusses the extent to which this diversity is a result of methodological problems, as opposed to genuine country variations. We argue that the neglect of statistical issues such as endogeneity, measurement error and aggregation error has biased the results of a number of studies. At least as important a shortcoming is that empirical research has been conducted without adequate reference to theory. As a result, the estimated equations are sometimes mis-specified and often difficult to interpret. This impedes the confidence with which policy prescriptions can be applied.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 27872.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:27872

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Related research

Keywords: Street Children; Environmental Economics&Policies; Children and Youth; Youth and Governance; Health Economics&Finance;

References

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  1. Dessy, Sylvain E., 2000. "A defense of compulsive measures against child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 261-275, June.
  2. Irineu E. Carvalho Filho, 2008. "Household Income As a Determinant of Child Labor and School Enrollment in Brazil," IMF Working Papers 08/241, International Monetary Fund.
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