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The Determinants of Rural Child Labor: An Application to India

  • Congdon Fors, Heather


    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

There are several factors that may contribute to the decision to send a child to work, such as poverty, market imperfections and parental preferences. The aim of this paper is to determine empirically the relative importance of these diverse factors on the incidence of child labor in rural India. In order to examine several potentially influential factors separately, we outline a theoretical model of child labor in a peasant household based on the model presented in Bhalotra and Heady (2003) with modifications to allow for the child to participate in different types of labor. We then use the theoretical model to specify and estimate an empirical model of rural child labor participation. Our results indicate that parental education and household income appear to play the most important role in determining whether a child works, attends school or is idle. Market imperfections, on the other hand, only play an important role in determining whether the child participates in family labor.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 256.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0256
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
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  1. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  2. Basu, Kaushik, 1999. "The intriguing relation between adult minimum wage and child labor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2173, The World Bank.
  3. Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
  4. Basu, Kaushik & Ray, Ranjan, 2002. "The collective model of the household and an unexpected implication for child labor : hypothesis and an empirical test," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2813, The World Bank.
  5. Sonia Bhalotra & Christopher Heady, 2003. "Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 03/553, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  6. Pham Hoang Van & Kaushik Basu, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1386-1388, December.
  7. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  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. Carol Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 2001. "Inequality, Productivity, and Child Labor: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers gueconwpa~01-01-10, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  10. Jean Dreze & Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 1999. "School participation in rural India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6666, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  12. Jayaraj, D. & Subramanian, S., 2005. "Out of School and (Probably) in Work: Child Labour and Capability Deprivation in India," Working Paper Series RP2005/55, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  13. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "Inequality, Productivity, and Child Labor," Labor and Demography 9907003, EconWPA, revised 30 Jul 1999.
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