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Welfare Impact of a Ban on Child Labor

  • Jorge Soares

    ()

    (Department of Economics,University of Delaware)

This paper presents a new rationale for imposing restrictions on child labor. In a standard overlapping generations model where parental altruism results in transfers that children allocate to consumption and education, the Nash-Cournot equilibrium results in sub-optimal levels of parental transfers and does not maximize the average level of utility of currently living agents. A ban on child labor decreases children's income and generates an increase in parental transfers bringing their levels closer to the optimum, raising children's welfare as well as average welfare in the short-run and in the long-run. Moreover, the inability to work allows children to allocate more time to education, and it leads to an increase in human capital. Besides, to increase transfers, parents decrease savings and, hence, physical capital accumulation. When prices are flexible, these effects diminish the positive welfare impact of the ban on child labor.

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File URL: http://graduate.lerner.udel.edu/sites/default/files/ECON/PDFs/RePEc/dlw/WorkingPapers/2009/UDWP2009-01.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Delaware, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08-01.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dlw:wpaper:09-01.
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Web page: http://lerner.udel.edu/departments/economics/department-economics/

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  1. Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2006. "A Century of Work and Leisure," NBER Working Papers 12264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dessy, Sylvain E. & Pallage, Stephane, 2001. "Child labor and coordination failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 469-476, August.
  3. Dirk Krueger & Jessica Tjornhom Donohue, 2004. "On the Distributional Consequences of Child Labor Legislation," NBER Working Papers 10347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2005. "General Purpose Technologies," NBER Working Papers 11093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen A. O'Connell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1993. "Dynamic Efficiency in the Gifts Economy," NBER Working Papers 4318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1492-1524, December.
  7. Carol Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 2002. "A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor," Working Papers gueconwpa~02-02-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1995. "On the Political Economy of Education Subsidies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 249-262.
  9. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  10. Sylvain E. Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2005. "A Theory of the Worst Forms of Child Labour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 68-87, 01.
  11. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1989. "Intergenerational Altruism, Dynastic Equilibria and Social Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 119-128.
  12. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  13. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  14. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1989. "Intergenerational Altruism, Dynastic Equilibria and Social Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 119-128.
  15. Jorge Soares, 2008. "Borrowing Constraints, Parental Altruism and Welfare," Working Papers 08-12, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
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