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Child Labor and Coordination Failures

In this paper, we show how coordination failures may explain the prevalence of child labor in developing countries. We do so within a simple game-theoretic setup. Child labor arises in our environment because of the lack of a coordination mechanism between parental decisions to invest in the human capital of their children and firm's decisions to invest in skill-intensive technology. Governmental policies that help coordinate expectations lead to the disappearance of child labor.

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Paper provided by CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal in its series Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers with number 109.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published (latest version) in Journal of Development Economics, 65/2, June 2001, 469-476
Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:109
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  1. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Population Growth and Human Capital Investments: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S38-70, October.
  2. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-26, October.
  3. 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.
  4. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron, 1994. "Search in the Labour Market, Incomplete Contracts and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1026, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. R. Aumann, 2010. "Correlated Equilibrium as an expression of Bayesian Rationality," Levine's Bibliography 513, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  8. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  9. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  10. Adsera, Alicia & Ray, Debraj, 1998. " History and Coordination Failure," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 267-76, September.
  11. Pallage, Stephane & Zimmermann, Christian, 2007. "Buying out child labor," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 75-90, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  14. Luis Felipe López Calva, 2002. "A social stigma model of child labor," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 17(2), pages 193-217.
  15. Redding, Stephen, 1996. "The Low-Skill, Low-Quality Trap: Strategic Complementarities between Human Capital and R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 458-70, March.
  16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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