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Political Repression and Child Labour: Theory and Empirical Evidence

  • Alessandro Maffei
  • Nikolai Raabe
  • Heinrich W. Ursprung

Most normative studies on child labour arrive at the conclusion that child labour is detrimental to social welfare. Child labour is, however, still prevalent in many developing countries even though in many of these countries it is forbidden by law. In this paper we develop a political-economic model that explains lenient enforcement of existing child labour legislation. The most important implication of our model is that in countries with repressive political regimes enforcement is more lenient and child labour thus more prevalent than in countries enjoying political freedom. We test this implication and find that it is confirmed by the data. Copyright 2006 The Authors Journal compilation 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd .

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal World Economy.

Volume (Year): 29 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (02)
Pages: 211-239

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:29:y:2006:i:2:p:211-239
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  1. Robert C. Shelburne, 2001. "An Explanation of the International Variation in the Prevalence of Child Labour," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 359-378, 03.
  2. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  3. de Haan, Jakob, 2003. "Economic freedom: editor's introduction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 395-403, September.
  4. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C., 2000. "Why do Indian Children Work, and is it Bad for Them?," IZA Discussion Papers 115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Gupta, Manash Ranjan, 2000. "Wage Determination of a Child Worker: A Theoretical Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 219-28, June.
  6. Bretschger, Lucas & Hettich, Frank, 2002. "Globalisation, capital mobility and tax competition: theory and evidence for OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 695-716, November.
  7. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  8. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2001. "Child Labor and the Education of a Society," IZA Discussion Papers 338, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Dessy, Sylvain E. & Pallage, Stephane, 2001. "Child labor and coordination failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 469-476, August.
  10. Philipp Harms & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2002. "Do Civil and Political Repression Really Boost Foreign Direct Investments?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 651-663, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  13. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-59, October.
  14. Busse, Matthias, 2003. "Democracy and FDI," HWWA Discussion Papers 220, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
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