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Filial Obligations and Child Labor


  • Luis Felipe López-Calva
  • Koji Miyamoto


The model presented here reproduces the empirical fact that poorer countries show a higher incidence of child labor and time-intensive care of retired parents, whereas richer countries have negligible child labor and people indulge in money-intensive care of the old. For that purpose, the effect of social norms of filial obligations on child labor and schooling decisions is analyzed. It is shown that norms of filial obligations are sustainable as an equilibrium in the intergenerational game. Widely discussed contracting problems à la Becker, which allegedly explain underinvestment in schooling by poor households, are thus solved. However, this alone does not induce the elimination of child labor. Technological parameters and relative returns to schooling also play a fundamental role. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.

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  • Luis Felipe López-Calva & Koji Miyamoto, 2004. "Filial Obligations and Child Labor," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 489-504, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:8:y:2004:i:3:p:489-504

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rubiana Chamarbagwala & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "The Role of Social Norms in Child Labor and Schooling in India," Caepr Working Papers 2006-016, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    2. Mussa, Richard, 2009. "Household economic status, schooling costs, and schooling bias against non-biological children in Malawi," MPRA Paper 15855, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 21 Jun 2009.
    3. Rubiana Chamarbagwala & Rusty Tchernis, 2010. "Exploring the spatial determinants of children’s activities: evidence from India," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 593-617, October.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.

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