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Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox

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  • Sonia Bhalotra
  • Christopher Heady

Abstract

This paper is motivated by the remarkable observation that children in land-rich households are often more likely to be in work than the children of land-poor households. The vast majority of working children in developing countries are in agricultural work, predominantly on farms operated by their families. Land is the most important store of wealth in agrarian societies and it is typically distributed very unequally. These facts challenge the common presumption that child labour emerges from the poorest households. This article suggests that this seeming paradox can be explained by failures of the markets for labour and land. Credit market failure will tend to weaken the force of this paradox. These effects are modeled and estimates obtained using survey data from rural Pakistan and Ghana. The main result is that the 'wealth paradox' persists for girls in both countries whereas, for boys, it disappears after conditioning on other covariates.

Suggested Citation

  • Sonia Bhalotra & Christopher Heady, 2003. "Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 03/553, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:03/553
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child labour; land-rich households; wealth paradox;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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