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Child Labor and the Education of a Society

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  • Bell, Clive

    () (Heidelberg University)

  • Gersbach, Hans

    () (ETH Zurich)

Abstract

We examine economic growth, inequality and education when the wellspring of growth is the formation of human capital through a combination of the quality of child-rearing and formal schooling. The existence of multiple steady states is established, including a poverty trap, wherein children work full-time and no human capital accumulation takes place, with continuous growth at an asymptotically steady rate as an alternative. We show that a society can escape from the poverty trap into a condition of continuous growth through a program of taxes and transfers. Temporary inequality is a necessary condition to escape in finite time, but long-run inequalities are avoidable provided sufficiently heavy, but temporary taxes can be imposed on the better-off. Programs aiming simply at high attendance rates in the present can be strongly non-optimal.

Suggested Citation

  • Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2001. "Child Labor and the Education of a Society," IZA Discussion Papers 338, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp338
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2010. "Do international labor standards contribute to the persistence of the child-labor problem?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-31, March.
    2. Alessandro Maffei & Nikolai Raabe & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 2006. "Political Repression and Child Labour: Theory and Empirical Evidence," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 211-239, February.
    3. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "The macroeconomics of targeting: the case of an enduring epidemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 54-72, January.
    4. Hans Gersbach & Lars-H. Siemers, 2014. "Can democracy induce development? A constitutional perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 177-196, April.
    5. Gersbach, Hans & Siemers, Lars-H. R., 2010. "Land Reforms And Economic Development," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(04), pages 527-547, September.
    6. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "Child Labor And The Education Of A Society," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 220-249, April.
    7. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2013. "Growth and enduring epidemic diseases," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 2083-2103.
    8. Gersbach, Hans & Siemers, Lars, 2005. "Can Democracy Educate a Society?," IZA Discussion Papers 1693, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Patrick M. Emerson & Shawn D. Knabb, 2007. "Fiscal Policy, Expectation Traps, And Child Labor," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 453-469, July.
    10. Emerson, Patrick M. & Portela Souza, Andre, 2005. "The inter-generational persistence of child labor," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 32746, The World Bank.
    11. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans & Schneider, Maik T., 2012. "Raising juveniles," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 32-51.
    12. Chakraborty, Bidisha & Chakraborty, Kamalika, 2016. "Low Level Equilibrium Trap, Unemployment, School Quality, Child Labour and Human Capital Formation," MPRA Paper 74621, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Clive Bell & Shantayanan Devarajan & Hans Gersbach, 2003. "The long-run economic costs of AIDS : theory and an application to South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3152, The World Bank.
    14. Patrick M. Emerson & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "Bargaining over Sons and Daughters: Child Labor, School Attendance and Intra-Household Gender Bias in Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0213, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    15. Pierre-Richard Agénor & Baris Alpaslan, 2013. "Child Labor, Intra-Household Bargaining and Economic Growth," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 181, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    16. Ramona Schrepler, 2003. "Child Labor and Fertility," HEW 0310001, EconWPA, revised 26 Feb 2004.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    growth and inequality; education; human capital; Child labor; redistributive policies; poverty traps;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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