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Child Labor and Resistance to Change

  • Giorgio Bellettini

    (University of Bologna)

  • Carlotta Berti Ceroni

    (University of Bologna)

  • Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano

    (University of Bologna and CEPR)

We study the interactions between technological innovation, investment in human capital and child labor. In our setting new technologies require new skills and new skills can be developed only through schooling. In a two-stage game, first firms decide on innovation, then households decide on education. In equilibrium the presence of inefficient child labor depends on parameters related to technology, parents’ altruism and the diffusion of firm property. When child labor exists, it is due to either firms reluctance to innovate or households’ unwillingness to educate or both. The optimal policy to eliminate child labor depends crucially on its underlying cause. We show that, in some cases, compulsory schooling laws or a ban on child labor are welfare reducing, while a subsidy to innovation is the right tool to eliminate child labor and increase welfare.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2003.79.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2003.79
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  1. Paul Segerstrom & Elias Dinopoulos, 1999. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 450-472, June.
  2. G. Bellettini & C. Berti Ceroni, 2000. "Compulsory schooling laws and the cure against child labor," Working Papers 394, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Dessy, Sylvain E., 2000. "A defense of compulsive measures against child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 261-275, June.
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  8. 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.
  9. Kenneth A. Swinnerton & Carol Ann Rogers, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," Labor and Demography 9903002, EconWPA.
  10. Levy, Victor, 1985. "Cropping Pattern, Mechanization, Child Labor, and Fertility Behavior in a Farming Economy: Rural Egypt," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 777-91, July.
  11. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "Inequality, Productivity, and Child Labor," Labor and Demography 9907003, EconWPA, revised 30 Jul 1999.
  12. Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
  13. Sylvain Dessy & Stephane Pallage, 2000. "Child Labor and Coordination Failures," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 109, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  14. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 2004. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and the Cure for Child Labour," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 227-239, 07.
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  16. Douglas A. Galbi, 1997. "Child labor and the division of labor in the early English cotton mills," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 357-375.
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