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Child farm labour: theory and evidence

This paper presents a dynamic model of child labour supply in a farming household. The model clarifies the roles of land, income and household size, allowing labour and credit market imperfections. If labour markets are imperfect, child labour is increasing in farm size and decreasing in household size. The effect of income is shown to depend upon whether the effective choice is between work and school or whether leisure is involved. Credit market constraints tend to dilute the positive impact of farm size and reinforce the negative effect of income. The model is estimated for rural Ghana and Pakistan. A striking finding of the paper is that the effect of farm size at given levels of household income is significantly positive for girls in both countries, but not for boys. This is consistent with the finding, in other contexts, that females exhibit larger substitution effects in labour supply. Increases in household income have a negative impact on work for boys in Pakistan and for girls in Ghana but there is no income effect for the other two groups of children. We find interesting effects of household size and composition, female headship, and mothers' post-secondary education.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/6654/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 6654.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6654
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2001. "Is child work necessary?," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24660, The World Bank.
  2. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  3. Jensen, P. & Nielsen, H.S., 1996. "Child Labour or School Attendance? Evidence from Zambia," Papers 96-14, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  4. 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.
  5. Kaushik Basu, 2003. "Analytical Development Economics: The Less Developed Economy Revisited," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262523442, June.
  6. Ray, R., 1998. "Analysis of Child Labour in Peru and Pakistan: a Comparative Study," Papers 1998-05, Tasmania - Department of Economics.
  7. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  8. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1990. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Reply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(1), pages 237-42, February.
  9. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  10. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  11. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
  12. Jafarey, Saqib & Lahiri, Sajal, 2002. "Will trade sanctions reduce child labour?: The role of credit markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 137-156, June.
  13. Heady, Christopher, 2003. "The Effect of Child Labor on Learning Achievement," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 385-398, February.
  14. Basu, Kaushik, 2000. "The Intriguing Relation between Adult Minimum Wage and Child Labour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C50-61, March.
  15. Alan S. Blinder & Yoram Weiss, 1975. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," NBER Working Papers 0067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 1997. "Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru - An empirical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405.
  17. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  18. 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.
  19. Glewwe, Paul, 1996. "The relevance of standard estimates of rates of return to schooling for education policy: A critical assessment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 267-290, December.
  20. Cochrane, S. & Kozel, V. & Alderman, H., 1990. "Household consequences of high fertility in Pakistan," World Bank - Discussion Papers 111, World Bank.
  21. Butcher, Kristin F & Case, Anne, 1994. "The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Education and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 531-63, August.
  22. Killingsworth, Mark R, 1982. ""Learning by Doing" and "Investment in Training": A Synthesis of Two "Rival" Models of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 263-71, April.
  23. Driffill, E J, 1980. "Life-Cycles with Terminal Retirement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 45-62, February.
  24. 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.
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