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Child Labor and Resistance to Change

We study the interactions between technological innovation, investment in human capital and child labor. In our setting new technologies require new skills and new skills can be developed only through schooling. In a two-stage game, first firms decide on innovation, then households decide on education. In equilibrium the presence of inefficient child labor depends on parameters related to technology, parents’ altruism and the diffusion of firm property. When child labor exists, it is due to either firms reluctance to innovate or households’ unwillingness to educate or both. The optimal policy to eliminate child labor depends crucially on its underlying cause. We show that, in some cases, compulsory schooling laws or a ban on child labor are welfare reducing, while a subsidy to innovation is the right tool to eliminate child labor and increase welfare.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number 474.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:474
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  1. Paul Segerstrom & Elias Dinopoulos, 1999. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 450-472, June.
  2. Dessy, Sylvain E., 2000. "A defense of compulsive measures against child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 261-275, June.
  3. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Scholarly Articles 3606235, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Levy, Victor, 1985. "Cropping Pattern, Mechanization, Child Labor, and Fertility Behavior in a Farming Economy: Rural Egypt," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 777-91, July.
  7. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 2004. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and the Cure for Child Labour," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 227-239, 07.
  8. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "Inequality, Productivity, and Child Labor," Labor and Demography 9907003, EconWPA, revised 30 Jul 1999.
  9. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1382-1385, December.
  10. G. Bellettini & C. Berti Ceroni, 2000. "Compulsory schooling laws and the cure against child labor," Working Papers 394, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  11. 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).
  12. Sylvain Dessy & Stephane Pallage, 2000. "Child Labor and Coordination Failures," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 109, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  13. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Das Human Kapital," CEPR Discussion Papers 2701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  15. Ranjan, P., 1999. ""Credit Constraints and the Phenomenon of Child Labor"," Papers 98-99-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  16. Douglas A. Galbi, 1997. "Child labor and the division of labor in the early English cotton mills," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 357-375.
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