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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://www.lerner.udel.edu/departments/economics/department-economics/

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  1. Sylvain Dessy & Stephane Pallage, 2000. "Child Labor and Coordination Failures," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 109, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  2. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1995. "On the Political Economy of Education Subsidies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 249-62, April.
  3. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 2008. "A theory of exploitative child labor," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 20-41, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2005. "A Century of Work and Leisure," 2005 Meeting Papers 250, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rousseau, Peter L., 2005. "General Purpose Technologies," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1181-1224 Elsevier.
  7. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1989. "Intergenerational Altruism, Dynastic Equilibria and Social Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 119-28, January.
  8. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  9. Stephen A. O'Connell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1993. "Dynamic Efficiency in the Gifts Economy," NBER Working Papers 4318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dirk Krueger & Jessica Tjornhom Donohue, 2005. "On The Distributional Consequences Of Child Labor Legislation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(3), pages 785-815, 08.
  11. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1492-1524, December.
  12. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  13. Jorge Soares, 2008. "Borrowing Constraints, Parental Altruism and Welfare," Working Papers 08-12, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
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