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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
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Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp215
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  1. Frankel, Jeffrey & Rose, Andrew K., 2003. "Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality," Working Paper Series rwp03-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Neumayer, Eric & de Soysa, Indra, 2005. "Trade Openness, Foreign Direct Investment and Child Labor," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 43-63, January.
  3. Eric Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2004. "International Trade and Child Labor: Cross-Country Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10317, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Eric V. Edmonds, 2007. "Child Labor," NBER Working Papers 12926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Direct Investment and Relative Wages: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladoras," NBER Working Papers 5122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  9. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  10. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  11. Blonigen, Bruce A. & Davies, Ronald B. & Waddell, Glen R. & Naughton, Helen T., 2007. "FDI in space: Spatial autoregressive relationships in foreign direct investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1303-1325, July.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  15. 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.
  16. Ronald B. Davies, 2008. "Hunting High and Low for Vertical FDI," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 250-267, 05.
  17. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C. & Guarcello, Lorenzo, 2002. "Does Globalisation Increase Child Labour?," IZA Discussion Papers 470, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. 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, December.
  19. 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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