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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. Ronald B. Davies, 2002. "Hunting High and Low for Vertical FDI," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2002-12, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Aug 2002.
  2. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2001. "The Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on U.S. FDI Activity," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2001-14, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Jan 2001.
  4. Eric V. Edmonds, 2007. "Child Labor," NBER Working Papers 12926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  7. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C. & Guarcello, Lorenzo, 2002. "Does Globalisation Increase Child Labour?," IZA Discussion Papers 470, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Bruce A. Blonigen, 2005. "A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants," NBER Working Papers 11299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Edmonds, Eric V & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "International Trade and Child Labour: Cross-Country Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 4309, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Jafarey, Saqib & Lahiri, Sajal, 1999. "Will trade sanctions reduce child labour? The role of credit markets," Economics Discussion Papers 10004, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  13. Frankel, Jeffrey & Rose, Andrew K., 2001. "An Estimate of the Effect of Common Currencies on Trade and Income," Working Paper Series rwp01-013, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  14. Neumayer, Eric & de Soysa, Indra, 2005. "Trade Openness, Foreign Direct Investment and Child Labor," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 43-63, January.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Markusen, James R & Maskus, Keith E, 2002. "Discriminating among Alternative Theories of the Multinational Enterprise," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 694-707, November.
  19. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
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