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The Effect of FDI on Child Labor

  • Ronald B. Davies
  • Annie Voy

This paper examines the extent to which foreign direct investment (FDI) affects child labor. Using 1995 data for 145 countries, we find that, contrary to common fears, FDI is negatively correlated with child labor. This effect, however, disappears when controlling for per capita income. After doing so, we find no robust effect of either FDI or international trade on child labor. This result is robust to corrections for the endogeneity of FDI, trade, and income. Furthermore, this result is confirmed when using data from earlier years and when using fixed effects. This suggests that the impact of FDI and trade on child labor, if any, is the increases in income they generate.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp215.

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Date of creation: 04 Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp215
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  1. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2000. "The Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on U.S. FDI Activity," NBER Working Papers 7929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 2002. "Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality," NBER Working Papers 9201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Edmonds, Eric V & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "International Trade and Child Labour: Cross-Country Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 4309, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies & Glen R. Waddell & Helen T. Naughton, 2004. "FDI in Space: Spatial Autoregressive Relationships in Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 10939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jeffrey Frankel & Andrew Rose, 2002. "An Estimate Of The Effect Of Common Currencies On Trade And Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 437-466, May.
  8. Bruce Blonigen, 2005. "A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 33(4), pages 383-403, December.
  9. Ronald B. Davies, 2008. "Hunting High and Low for Vertical FDI," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 250-267, 05.
  10. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C. & Guarcello, Lorenzo, 2002. "Does Globalization Increase Child Labor?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1579-1589, September.
  11. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  12. Neumayer, Eric & de Soysa, Indra, 2005. "Trade Openness, Foreign Direct Investment and Child Labor," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 43-63, January.
  13. Edmonds, Eric V., 2007. "Child Labor," IZA Discussion Papers 2606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Saqib Jafarey & Sajal Lahiri, 1999. "Will trade sanctions reduce child labour? The role of credit markets," Economics Discussion Papers 500, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  15. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
  16. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  17. James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 1999. "Discriminating Among Alternative Theories of the Multinational Enterprise," NBER Working Papers 7164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  19. Edward M. Graham, 2000. "Fighting the Wrong Enemy: Antiglobal Activists and Multinational Enterprises," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 91.
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