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Child mortality, child labour and economic development


  • Holger Strulik


The paper presents a model where the interplay between fertility, child labour and education can explain economic stagnation when parents live in an environment of high child mortality. If in contrast child mortality is low, the solution of the parental decision problem leads to perpetual economic growth. The two long-run states are connected by a path of demographic transition and economic take-off along which the incidence of child labour disappears. The paper also discusses alternative policies to escape from the low income equilibrium. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Holger Strulik, 2004. "Child mortality, child labour and economic development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 547-568, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:114:y:2004:i:497:p:547-568

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
    2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dessy, Sylvain E., 2000. "A defense of compulsive measures against child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 261-275, June.
    4. Keith Blackburn & Giam Pietro Cipriani, 1998. "Endogenous fertility, mortality and growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(4), pages 517-534.
    5. Moshe Hazan & Binyamin Berdugo, 2002. "Child Labour, Fertility, and Economic Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 810-828, October.
    6. Glomm, Gerhard, 1997. "Parental choice of human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-114, June.
    7. Tamura, Robert, 1996. "From decay to growth: A demographic transition to economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(6-7), pages 1237-1261.
    8. Ben S. Bernanke & Refet S. Gürkaynak, 2002. "Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Mankiw, Romer, and Weil Seriously," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:9:y:2008:i:7:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Katarina Keller, 2006. "Education Expansion, Expenditures per Student and the Effects on Growth in Asia," Global Economic Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 21-42.
    3. Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, 2017. "Fighting Poverty And Child Malnutrition: On The Design Of Foreign Aid Policies," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(08), pages 1935-1956, December.
    4. Holger Strulik, 2013. "School Attendance And Child Labor—A Model Of Collective Behavior," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 246-277, April.
    5. Casper Worm Hansen & Peter Sandholt Jensen & Lars Lønstrup, 2014. "The Fertility Transition in the US: Schooling or Income?," Economics Working Papers 2014-02, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    6. Edgar Vogel, 2009. "From Malthus to modern growth: child labor, schooling and human capital," MEA discussion paper series 09180, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    7. Salam Abdus & Peter Rangazas, 2011. "Adult Nutrition and Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 636-649, October.
    8. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Sidek, Abdul Halim & Ibrahim, Saifuzzaman, 2016. "Eradicating the Crime of Child Labour in Africa: The Roles of Income, Schooling, Fertility, and Foreign Direct Investment," MPRA Paper 77250, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Estevan, Fernanda & Baland, Jean-Marie, 2007. "Mortality risks, education and child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 118-137, September.
    10. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "Child Labor And The Education Of A Society," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 220-249, April.
    11. repec:eee:ecmode:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:67-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Kouki Sugawara, 2011. "The worst forms of child labour: dynamic model and policy implication," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(2), pages 1910-1921.
    13. Nigar Hashimzade & Uma Kambhampati, 2010. "Growth and Inverted U in Child Labour: A Dual Economy Approach," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2009-07, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    14. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2008:i:8:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Makhlouf, Yousef & Kellard, Neil M. & Vinogradov, Dmitri, 2017. "Child mortality, commodity price volatility and the resource curse," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 144-156.
    16. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "The Role of Poverty and Community Norms in Child Labor and Schooling Decisions," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 42, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    17. Dierk Herzer & Holger Strulik & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "The long-run determinants of fertility: one century of demographic change 1900–1999," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 357-385, December.
    18. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2008:i:7:p:1-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Tamara Fioroni, 2010. "Child mortality and fertility: public vs private education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 73-97, January.
    20. ESTEVAN, Fernanda & BALAND, Jean-Marie, 2005. "Mortality risks and child labor," CORE Discussion Papers 2005049, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    21. Vogel, Edgar, 2008. "From Malthus to modern growth : child labor, schooling and human capital," Papers 08-42, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    22. Christopher GRIGORIOU & Grégoire ROTA-GRAZIOSI, 2005. "Why do Education Expenditures Fail to Reduce Child Labor? Looking for an Optimal Composition of the Social Expenditures," Working Papers 200517, CERDI.
    23. Takeo Hori, 2011. "Educational Gender Inequality And Inverted U‐Shaped Fertility Dynamics," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 126-150, March.
    24. Sugawara, Kouki, 2010. "Intergenerational transfers and fertility: Trade-off between human capital and child labour," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 584-593, June.
    25. Fioroni, Tamara, 2014. "Health and Child Labour," MPRA Paper 58789, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General


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