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Do International Labor Standards Contribute to the Persistence of the Child Labor Problem?

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  • Matthias Doepke
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

Abstract

In recent years, a number of governments and consumer groups in rich countries have tried to discourage the use of child labor in poor countries through measures such as product boycotts and the imposition of international labor standards. The purported objective of such measures is to reduce the incidence of child labor in developing countries and thereby improve children's welfare. In this paper, we examine the effects of such policies from a political-economy perspective. We show that these types of international action on child labor tend to lower domestic political support within developing countries for banning child labor. Hence, international labor standards and product boycotts may delay the ultimate eradication of child labor.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2009. "Do International Labor Standards Contribute to the Persistence of the Child Labor Problem?," NBER Working Papers 15050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Irving Rosales, 2013. "Learn, sweat or steal: a theory of development and the activity of children," Working Papers 0613, Universidad Iberoamericana, Department of Economics.
    3. Heather Congdon Fors, 2012. "Child Labour: A Review Of Recent Theory And Evidence With Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 570-593, September.
    4. Michele Di Maio & Giorgio Fabbri, 2013. "Consumer boycott, household heterogeneity, and child labor," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 1609-1630, October.
    5. Congdon Fors, Heather, 2012. "Social Globalization and Child Labor," Working Papers in Economics 533, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Francisco Gonzalez & Irving Rosales, 2016. "The case against child labor bans," Working Papers 1601, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2016.
    7. Heather Congdon Fors, 2014. "Social Globalization and Child Labor: A Cross-country Analysis," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 52(2), pages 125-153, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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