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Opportunity, Inequality and the Intergenerational Transmission of Child Labour

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  • PATRICK M. EMERSON
  • SHAWN D. KNABB

Abstract

This paper presents a model in which opportunity differences within society result in child labour, where 'opportunity' is broadly defined but can include school quality, access to higher paying jobs, access to information about the returns to education and actual discrimination. If opportunity differences exist, child labour and poverty are shown to be symptomatic of this underlying socioeconomic condition. It is then shown that policies that ban child labour and/or introduce compulsory education laws can actually reduce dynastic welfare, increase poverty and further exacerbate income inequality within society, because they treat the symptom rather than the disease: the lack of opportunity. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick M. Emerson & Shawn D. Knabb, 2006. "Opportunity, Inequality and the Intergenerational Transmission of Child Labour," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(291), pages 413-434, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:73:y:2006:i:291:p:413-434
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    1. Maurice Obstfeld, 1982. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 251-270.
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    3. Sebastian Edwards, 1987. "Anticipated Protectionist Policies, Real Exchange Rates and the Current Account," UCLA Economics Working Papers 437, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. J. Peter Neary, 1985. "International Factor Mobility, Minimum Wage Rates, and Factor-Price Equalization: A Synthesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(3), pages 551-570.
    5. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1985. "Current Account Dynamics and the Terms of Trade: Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Two Generations Later," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 43-65, February.
    6. Razin, Assaf & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1983. "Trade taxes and the current account," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 55-57.
    7. Svensson, Lars E O & Razin, Assaf, 1983. "The Terms of Trade and the Current Account: The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 97-125, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick M. Emerson & Shawn D. Knabb, 2007. "Fiscal Policy, Expectation Traps, And Child Labor," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 453-469, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Fabre, Alice & Pallage, Stéphane, 2015. "Child labor, idiosyncratic shocks, and social policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 394-411.
    4. L. Guarcello & S. Lyon, 2003. "Children's work and water access in Yemen," UCW Working Paper 53, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
    5. Emerson, Patrick M. & Souza, André Portela, 2008. "Birth Order, Child Labor, and School Attendance in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1647-1664, September.
    6. Karina Acevedo González & Raúl Quejada Pérez & Martha Yánez Contreras, 2011. "Determinantes y consecuencias del trabajo infantil: un análisis de la literatura," REVISTA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS ECONÓMICAS, UNIVERSIDAD MILITAR NUEVA GRANADA, June.
    7. Lodhi, Abdul Salam & Tsegai, Daniel W. & Gerber, Nicolas, 2011. "Determinants of participation in child’s education and alternative activities in Pakistan," Discussion Papers 119110, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).

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