IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Is There a Child Labor Trap? Intergenerational Persistence of Child Labor in Brazil

Listed author(s):
  • Emerson, Patrick M
  • Souza, Andre Portela

This paper examines inter-generational persistence in child labor by developing a dynamic model and exploring its implications empirically in Brazil. We begin by building a simple overlapping generations model of the household child labor decision. We assume that this decision is made by the head of the household, where parents decide to send their child to work only if by doing so the child�s contribution to the present consumption of the family outweighs the future consumption benefit the family would enjoy from keeping the child in school. The main predictions of the model are that children are more likely to work when they come from households with parents who were child laborers, from households with parents who have lower educational attainment and that child labor has adverse effects on children�s educational attainment and their adult earnings. Evidence of persistence in child labor is found by examining household survey data from Brazil. We exploit the fact that the survey data includes information on child labor of both parents and children in a household, as well as information on the educational achievement of the grandparents. We find that children are more likely to be child laborers the younger their parents were when they entered the labor force and the lower the educational attainment of the parents and of the grandparents. Another important finding is that individuals who start work at a younger age tend to end up with lower earnings as adults suggesting that the vocational training aspect of child labor does not the negative effect from loss of schooling.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 51 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 375-398

in new window

Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:y:2003:v:51:i:2:p:375-98
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Glomm, Gerhard, 1997. "Parental choice of human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-114, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:y:2003:v:51:i:2:p:375-98. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.