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The Short- And Longer-Term Effects of a Child Labor Ban

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  • Piza, Caio

    (World Bank)

  • Portela Souza, André

    (Sao Paulo School of Economics)

  • Emerson, Patrick M.

    (Oregon State University)

  • Amorim, Vivian

    (World Bank)

Abstract

Are bans effective at lowering child labor and increasing school attendance and, if so, do these effects lead to positive outcomes later in life? This paper seeks to answer these questions by examining the effect of a 1998 Brazilian law that increased the minimum employment age from 14 to 16. To examine this question we use two different regression discontinuity designs to analyze Brazilian household data. We find that the ban had no overall impact across affected children in Brazil, but that it led to a significant decrease in the labor market participation of urban boys, whose paid labor dropped 35 percent, driven mainly by a decrease in informal work. We also find a concomitant 10 percent increase in the share of urban boys only attending school. Interestingly, we find that by age 18 this cohort was still almost 20 percent less likely to have a paid job and was less likely to be economically active even when they were legally allowed to work. However, we find no evidence that the impact of the ban lasted over time as reflected in measures of educational attainment, employment rates, and wages. Our results suggest that when enforced, bans on child labor can have significant immediate impacts amongst affected populations, leading to a decrease in work and an increase in school attendance. It remains unclear if these impacts translate to improved adult outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Piza, Caio & Portela Souza, André & Emerson, Patrick M. & Amorim, Vivian, 2022. "The Short- And Longer-Term Effects of a Child Labor Ban," IZA Discussion Papers 15324, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp15324
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    Cited by:

    1. Kozhaya, Mireille & Martinez Flores, Fernanda, 2022. "Child labor bans, employment, and school attendance: Evidence from changes in the minimum working age," Ruhr Economic Papers 942, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Kozhaya, Mireille & Martínez Flores, Fernanda, 2022. "Child Labor Bans, Employment, and School Attendance: Evidence from Changes in the Minimum Working Age," IZA Discussion Papers 15144, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child labor; education; labor laws;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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