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Child Labor and the Labor Supply of Other Household Members: Evidence from 1920 America

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  • Marco Manacorda

Abstract

This paper exploits the variation in the legal minimum working age across states in 1920 America in order to identify households' labor supply responses to exogenous changes in children's labor force participation. Using micro data on urban households from the U.S. Census, I find evidence that as a child moves to the labor market his siblings are less likely to work and more likely to attend school. I find no significant effect on parents' labor supply. (JEL J13, J22, K31, N32)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:5:p:1788-1801
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.5.1788
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    2. Chesnokova Tatyana & Vaithianathan Rhema, 2008. "Lucky Last? Intra-Sibling Allocation of Child Labor," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-30, July.
    3. Sonja Fagernäs, 2011. "Protection through Proof of Age. Birth Registration and Child Labor in Early 20th Century USA," Working Paper Series 2311, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    4. Kozhaya, Mireille & Martinez Flores, Fernanda, 2020. "Schooling and child labor: Evidence from Mexico's full-time school program," Ruhr Economic Papers 851, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Heather Congdon Fors, 2012. "Child Labour: A Review Of Recent Theory And Evidence With Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 570-593, September.
    6. Can Tang & Liqiu Zhao & Zhong Zhao, 2019. "Free Education Helps Combat Child Labor? The Effect of a Free Compulsory Education Reform in Rural China," Working Papers 2019-036, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    7. Prashant Bharadwaj & Leah K. Lakdawala & Nicholas Li, 2013. "Perverse Consequences of Well Intentioned Regulation: Evidence from India's Child Labor Ban," NBER Working Papers 19602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eric V. Edmonds & Norbert Schady, 2012. "Poverty Alleviation and Child Labor," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 100-124, November.
    9. Patrick M. Emerson & André Portela Souza, 2011. "Is Child Labor Harmful? The Impact of Working Earlier in Life on Adult Earnings," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 345-385.
    10. Ximena V. Del Carpio & Karen Macours, 2010. "Leveling the intra-household playing field: compensation and specialization in child labor allocation," Research in Labor Economics, in: Randall K.Q. Akee & Eric V. Edmonds & Konstantinos Tatsiramos (ed.), Child Labor and the Transition between School and Work, volume 31, pages 259-295, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    11. Federico Cingano & Alfonso Rosolia, 2012. "People I Know: Job Search and Social Networks," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 291-332.
    12. Basu, Kaushik & Das, Sanghamitra & Dutta, Bhaskar, 2010. "Child labor and household wealth: Theory and empirical evidence of an inverted-U," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 8-14, January.
    13. Richard Akresh & Eric V. Edmonds, 2011. "Residential Rivalry and Constraints on the Availability of Child Labor," NBER Working Papers 17165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Can Tang & Liqiu Zhao & Zhong Zhao, 2020. "Does free education help combat child labor? The effect of a free compulsory education reform in rural China," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 601-631, April.
    15. Jacobus de Hoop & Jed Friedman & Eeshani Kandpal & Furio C. Rosati, 2019. "Child Schooling and Child Work in the Presence of a Partial Education Subsidy," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(2), pages 503-531.
    16. Edmonds, Eric V. & Shrestha, Maheshwor, 2014. "You get what you pay for: Schooling incentives and child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 196-211.
    17. Alok Kumar, 2019. "Old-Age Income Support, Human Capital Investment, and Efficiency: Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets Samaritan's Dilemma," Department Discussion Papers 1902, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    18. Rapoport, Hillel & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2007. "Economic growth and endogenous intergenerational altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1231-1246, August.
    19. Massimo Baldini & Costanza Torricelli & Maria Cesira Urzì Brancati, 2018. "Family ties: Labor supply responses to cope with a household employment shock," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 809-832, September.
    20. Bidisha Chakraborty & Kamalika Chakraborty, 2014. "Child Labour, human capital formation and size of landholding: short run and long run analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(3), pages 2024-2037.
    21. Fagernäs, Sonja, 2014. "Papers, please! The effect of birth registration on child labor and education in early 20th century USA," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 63-92.
    22. Roberto Galbiati & Giulio Zanella, 2008. "The Social Multiplier of Tax Evasion: Evidence from Italian Audit Data," Department of Economics University of Siena 539, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    23. Moulton Jeremy Grant, 2017. "The Great Depression of Income: Historical Estimates of the Longer-Run Impact of Entering the Labor Market during a Recession," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 17(4), pages 1-20, October.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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