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Why is Child Labor Illegal?

  • Dessy, Sylvain
  • Knowles, John

We argue from an empirical analysis of Latin-American household surveys that per capita income in the country of residence has a negative effect on child labor supply, even after controlling for other household characteristics. We then develop a theory of the emergence of mandatory-education laws. If parents are unable to commit to educating their children, child-labor laws can increase the welfare of altruistic parents in an ex ante sense. The theory suggest that measures that reduce child wages can make poor families better off, but that this may come at the expense of even poorer families.

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Paper provided by Université Laval - Département d'économique in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0110.

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Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:laeccr:0110
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  1. Matthias Doepke, . "Origins and Consequences of Child Labor Restrictions: A Macroeconomic Perspective," UCLA Economics Online Papers 413, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:2:p:443-77 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  4. Eckstein, Z. & Zilcha, I., 1991. "The Effects of Compulsury Schooling on Growth Income Distribution and Welfare," Papers 38-91, Tel Aviv.
  5. Dessy, Sylvain E., 2000. "A defense of compulsive measures against child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 261-275, June.
  6. Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-57, July.
  7. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  9. Per Krusell & Anthony A Smith, Jr., 2001. "Consumption Savings Decisions with Quasi-Geometric Discounting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000251, David K. Levine.
  10. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The macroeconomics of child labor regulation," Staff Report 354, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  12. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  14. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  16. Karine S. Moe, 1998. "Fertility, Time Use, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 699-718, July.
  17. Glomm, Gerhard, 1997. "Parental choice of human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-114, June.
  18. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "Assessing the Impact of a School Subsidy Program in Mexico: Using a Social Experiment to Validate a Dynamic Behavioral Model of Child Schooling and Fertility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1384-1417, December.
  19. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-75, October.
  20. Dahan, Momi & Gaviria, Alejandro, 2001. "Sibling Correlations and Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 537-54, April.
  21. Fang, Hanming & Silverman, Dan, 2004. "On the compassion of time-limited welfare programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1445-1470, July.
  22. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  23. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
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