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Child labor: The role of income variability and access to credit across countries

  • Rajeev H. Dehejia

    ()

    (Columbia University - Department of Economicss)

  • Roberta Gatti

    ()

    (World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG))

This paper examines the relationship between child labor and access to credit at a crosscountry level. Even though this link is theoretically central to child labor, so far there has been little work done to assess its importance empirically. We measure child labor as a country aggregate, and credit constraints are proxied by the extent of financial development. These two variables display a strong negative relationship, which we show is robust to selection on observables (by controlling for a wide range of variables such as GDP per capita, urbanization, initial child labor, schooling, fertility, legal institutions, inequality, and openness, and by allowing for a nonparametric functional form), and to selection on unobservables (by allowing for fixed effects). We find that the magnitude of the association between our proxy of access to credit and child labor is large in the subsample of poor countries. Moreover, in the absence of developed financial markets, households appear to resort substantially to child labor in order to cope with income variability. This evidence suggests that policies aimed at widening households' access to credit could be effective in reducing the extent of child labor.

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File URL: http://www.econ.columbia.edu/RePEc/pdf/DP0102-69.pdf
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Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0102-69.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0102-69
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  1. 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.
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  9. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
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  12. Alan Krueger, 1996. "Observations on International Labor Standards and Trade," Working Papers 741, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1994. "Borrowing Constraints and Progress through School: Evidence from Peru," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 151-60, February.
  15. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2001. "Child Labor: Theory, Evidence and Policy," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0111, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  16. FurioCamillo Rosati & Zafiris Tzannatos, 2006. "Child Labour In Vietnam," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, 02.
  17. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Financial Dependence and Growth," CRSP working papers 344, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  18. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  19. 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.
  20. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects of Multiple Treatments Under the Conditional Independence Assumption," IZA Discussion Papers 91, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. 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.
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