IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Is Child Work Necessary?

  • Sonia R Bhalotra

This paper investigates why children work by studying the wage elasticity of child labour supply. Incorporating subsistence constraints in to a model of labour supply, we show that a negative wage elasticity favours the hypothesis that poverty compels work whereas a positive wage elasticity would favour the alternative view that children work because the relative returns to school are low. Distinguishing between these alternatives is important for policy. Existing studies have concentrated on the income elasticity, but this tells us nothing other than that leisure (or education) is a normal good. Using a large household survey for rural Pakistan, we estimate structural labour supply models for boys and girls in wage work, conditioning on full income and a range of demographic variables. Our estimates describe a forward falling labour supply curve for boys, consistent with the view that boys work on account of the compulsions of poverty. This is less clear in the case of girls. Therefore raising the return to schooling for girls may draw them out of work, but eliminating boys' wage work requires alleviation of the poverty of their households. Trade sanctions or bans on child labour may have deleterious consequences for these households unless they are compensated for the loss in income.

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: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/de/dedps26.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers with number 26.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:26
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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.:

as in new window
  1. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kaushik Basu & Zafiris Tzannatos, 2003. "The Global Child Labor Problem: What Do We Know and What Can We Do?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 147-173, December.
  3. Baland, J.M. & Robinson, J.A., 1998. "A Model of Child Labor," Papers 9803, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  4. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. Macurdy, 1980. "A Life Cycle Model of Female Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 47-74.
  5. Nelson, Charles R & Startz, Richard, 1990. "The Distribution of the Instrumental Variables Estimator and Its t-Ratio When the Instrument Is a Poor One," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(1), pages S125-40, January.
  6. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  7. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M Stern, 2001. "Child Labor: Theory, Evidence, and Policy," Working Papers 474, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  8. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Card, 1994. "Earnings, Schooling, and Ability Revisited," NBER Working Papers 4832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Edmonds, Eric V., 2007. "Child Labor," IZA Discussion Papers 2606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Gupta, Manash Ranjan, 2000. "Wage Determination of a Child Worker: A Theoretical Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 219-28, June.
  12. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-99, July.
  13. Jere Behrman & Andrew D. Foster & Mark Rosenzweig & Prem Vahsishtha, 1997. "Women's Schooling, Home Teaching, and Economic Growth," Home Pages _071, University of Pennsylvania.
  14. Ray, R., 1998. "Analysis of Child Labour in Peru and Pakistan: a Comparative Study," Papers 1998-05, Tasmania - Department of Economics.
  15. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 311-335.
  16. Sonia Bhalotra, 2003. "Child Labour in Africa," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 4, OECD Publishing.
  17. Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Coulombe, Harold, 1997. "Child labor and schooling in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1844, The World Bank.
  18. Costas Meghir & David Phillips, 2008. "Labour supply and taxes," IFS Working Papers W08/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Newey, Whitney K & Powell, James L & Walker, James R, 1990. "Semiparametric Estimation of Selection Models: Some Empirical Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 324-28, May.
  20. Sonia Bhalotra, and Zafiris Tzannatos, 2003. "Child labor : what have we learnt?," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 27872, The World Bank.
  21. Alok Bhargava, 1991. "Identification and Panel Data Models with Endogenous Regressors," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 129-140.
  22. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Shadow Prices, Market Wages, and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 42(4), pages 679-94, July.
  23. repec:fth:prinin:331 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 1997. "A Test of the Unitary and Collective Models of Household Labour Supply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 933-55, July.
  25. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-59, October.
  26. repec:pri:indrel:331 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Case, Anne & Lin, I-Fen & McLanahan, Sara, 2000. "How Hungry Is the Selfish Gene?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 781-804, October.
  28. Appleton, S., 2000. "Education and Health at the Household Level in Sub-Saharan Africa," Papers 33, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
  29. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C158-75, March.
  30. Ray, Ranjan, 2000. "Child Labor, Child Schooling, and Their Interaction with Adult Labor: Empirical Evidence for Peru and Pakistan," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 347-67, May.
  31. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  32. repec:fth:prinin:362 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  34. Rajeev Dehejia & Roberta Gatti, 2002. "Child Labor: The Role of Income Variability and Access to Credit Across Countries," NBER Working Papers 9018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  36. Richard Blundell & Ian Walker, 1986. "A Life-Cycle Consistent Empirical Model of Family Labour Supply Using Cross-Section Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 539-558.
  37. Kaushik Basu, 2006. "Gender and Say: a Model of Household Behaviour with Endogenously Determined Balance of Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 558-580, 04.
  38. Kniesner, Thomas J, 1976. "An Indirect Test of Complementarity in a Family Labor Supply Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 651-69, July.
  39. Fortin, B. & Lacroix, G., 1993. "A Test of the Neoclassical and Collective Models of Household Labour Supply," Papers 9335, Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique.
  40. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1997. "Does the Labour Market Explain Lower Female Schooling in India?," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 01, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  41. Sonia Bhalotra & Chris Heady, 2000. "Child farm labour: theory and evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6654, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  42. repec:esx:essedp:500 is not listed on IDEAS
  43. Jolliffe, Dean, 1997. "Whose education matters in the determination of household income," FCND discussion papers 39, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  44. Peter Jensen & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 1997. "Child labour or school attendance? Evidence from Zambia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 407-424.
  45. Kooreman, Peter & Kapteyn, Arie, 1986. "Estimation of Rationed and Unrationed Household Labour Supply Functions Using Flexible Functional Forms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 398-412, June.
  46. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S176-S215, June.
  47. Blundell, Richard & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388a), pages 44-64, Supplemen.
  48. Bhargava, Alok & Sargan, J D, 1983. "Estimating Dynamic Random Effects Models from Panel Data Covering Short Time Periods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1635-59, November.
  49. Shahnaz Hamid, 1994. "A Micro Analysis of Urban Child Labour: Some Determinants of Labour and its Conditions," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1249-1271.
  50. 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.
  51. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2002. "Parent Altruism," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 25, Royal Economic Society.
  52. Barzel, Yoram & McDonald, Richard J, 1973. "Assets, Subsistence, and The Supply Curve of Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(4), pages 621-33, September.
  53. Jafarey, Saqib & Lahiri, Sajal, 1999. "Will trade sanctions reduce child labour? The role of credit markets," Economics Discussion Papers 10004, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  54. Martin Shubik, 2001. "On Understanding Money," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 2(1), pages 95-120, January.
  55. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Wendy Parker, 2001. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Their Impact on Child Work and Schooling: Evidence from the PROGRESA Program in Mexico," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2001), pages 45-96, August.
  56. Card, David, 1988. "Emperical tests of labor-market equilibrium: An evaluation : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 259-267, January.
  57. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 1997. "Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru - An empirical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405.
  58. Dehejia, Rajeev H. & Beegle, Kathleen & Gatti, Roberta, 2003. "Child labor, income shocks, and access to credit," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3075, The World Bank.
  59. Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "Observations on International Labor Standards and Trade," NBER Working Papers 5632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  60. Nielsen, H.S., 1998. "Child Labor and School Attendance: Two Joint Decisions," Papers 98-15, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  61. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1980. "Neoclassical Theory and the Optimizing Peasant: An Econometric Analysis of Market Family Labor Supply in a Developing Country," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 31-55.
  62. Douglas A. Galbi, 1997. "Child labor and the division of labor in the early English cotton mills," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 357-375.
  63. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Parker, Susan W., 2001. "Conditional cash transfers and their impact on child work and schooling," FCND briefs 123, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  64. Grootaert, Christiaan & Kanbur, Ravi, 1995. "Child labor : a review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1454, The World Bank.
  65. 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.
  66. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  67. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  68. Swaminathan, Madhura, 1998. "Economic growth and the persistence of child labor: Evidence from an Indian city," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 1513-1528, August.
  69. Glewwe, P. & Jacoby, H., 1993. "Delayed Primary School Enrollment and Childhood Malnutrition in Ghana, an Economic Analysis," Papers 98, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
  70. 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.
  71. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
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:cep:stidep:26. 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: ()

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.