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Determinants of child labor in the modern United States: Evidence from agricultural workers and their children and concerns for ongoing public policy

Author

Listed:
  • Maoyong Fan

    () (Ball State University)

  • Mimi Houston

    () (Colorado State University)

  • Anita Alves Pena

    () (Colorado State University)

Abstract

Current legislative proposals consider amendments to child labor laws for U.S. agriculture. Similar amendments, however, have been unsuccessful previously. Using the National Agricultural Workers Survey, we show that child labor is still substantial in the modern U.S. despite some decreases over time, and argue that the lack of success of recent child labor policy initiatives has left some young workers vulnerable. We use the limited data that are available to examine determinants of farm and off-farm child labor in the U.S. and to consider correlations between child labor and participation in educational and welfare programs at the family level. As a majority of literature on child labor stems from international contexts, this research lessens that gap by presenting the U.S. case from the perspective of a key industry sector while informing ongoing discussion pertaining to possible revisions of child labor laws and providing support for continued and expanded data collection.

Suggested Citation

  • Maoyong Fan & Mimi Houston & Anita Alves Pena, 2014. "Determinants of child labor in the modern United States: Evidence from agricultural workers and their children and concerns for ongoing public policy," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 287-306.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-13-00737
    as

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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2014/Volume34/EB-14-V34-I1-P29.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    3. Emerson, Patrick M & Souza, Andre Portela, 2003. "Is There a Child Labor Trap? Intergenerational Persistence of Child Labor in Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 375-398, January.
    4. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
    5. Nielsen, H.S., 1998. "Child Labor and School Attendance: Two Joint Decisions," Papers 98-15, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
    6. Sonia Bhalotra & Christopher Heady, 2003. "Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 197-227, December.
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    9. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1982. "Educational Subsidy, Agricultural Development, and Fertility Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(1), pages 67-88.
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    13. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2005.078923_6 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Häberli, Christian, 2016. "An International Regulatory Framework for National Employment Policies," Papers 963, World Trade Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural workers; Child labor; Public policy; Labor regulation; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General

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