Exploitation, Altruism, and Social Welfare: An Economic Exploration
Child labor is often condemned as a form of exploitation. I explore how the notion of exploitation, as used in everyday language, can be made precise in economic models of child labor. Exploitation is defined relative to a specific social welfare function. I first show that under the standard dynastic social welfare function, which is commonly applied to intergenerational models, child labor is never exploitative. In contrast, under an inclusive welfare function, which places additional weight on the welfare of children, child labor is always exploitative. Neither welfare function captures the more gradual distinctions that common usage of the term exploitation allows. I resolve this conflict by introducing a welfare function with minimum altruism, in which child labor in a given family is judged relative to a specific social standard. Under this criterion, child labor is exploitative only in families where the parent (or guardian) displays insufficient altruism towards the child. I argue that this welfare function best captures the conventional concept of exploitation and has useful properties for informing political choices regarding child labor.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521001151 is not listed on IDEAS
- Schoonbroodt, Alice & Tertilt, Michèle, 2014.
"Property rights and efficiency in OLG models with endogenous fertility,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 551-582.
- Schoonbroodt, Alice & Tertilt, Michele, 2010. "Property rights and efficiency in OLG models with endogenous fertility," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1020, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
- Basu, Kaushik, 1998.
"Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2027, The World Bank.
- Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
- Robert J. Barro & Gary S. Becker, .
"Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth,"
University of Chicago - Population Research Center
88-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- Matthias Doepke, .
"Origins and Consequences of Child Labor Restrictions: A Macroeconomic Perspective,"
UCLA Economics Online Papers
413, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Doepke, Matthias & Krüger, Dirk, 2007. "Origins and Consequences of Child Labor Restrictions: A Macroeconomic Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 3259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Doepke, Matthias & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "Origins and Consequences of Child Labour Restrictions: A Macroeconomic Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 5953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Matthias Doepke & Dirk Krueger, 2006. "Origins and Consequences of Child Labor Restrictions: A Macroeconomic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 12665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Basu, Kaushik & Zarghamee, Homa, 2009. "Is product boycott a good idea for controlling child labor? A theoretical investigation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 217-220, March.
- Kimball, Miles S., 1987. "Making sense of two-sided altruism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-326, September.
- Matthias Doepke, 2004.
"Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, 09.
- Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Barro, Robert J., 1974.
"Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?,"
3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Horrell Sara & Humphries Jane, 1995. "The Exploitation of Little Children: Child Labor and the Family Economy in the Industrial Revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 485-516, October.
- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1989. "Intergenerational Altruism, Dynastic Equilibria and Social Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 119-28, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7449. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.