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A Note on Multiple General Equilibria with Child Labour

  • Kaushik Basu


    (Department of Economics, Cornell University)

It has been conjectured, using partial equilibrium analysis, that the market for child labour is likely to exhibit multiple equilibria, with children working in some but not in others. Such a result has important policy implications, especially concerning the use of a legislative ban on child labour. This paper shows that the multiple equilibrium result holds in a formal general equilibrium model. The paper develops the concept of a 'wage bill curve' and shows how this is a useful tool for studying the relation between household preference and multiple equilibria. It also clarifies the kind of welfare criteria needed to justify a legislative ban on child labour.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore in its series Working Papers with number 78.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sch:wpaper:78
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  1. Ray, Ranjan, 2000. "Child Labor, Child Schooling, and Their Interaction with Adult Labor: Empirical Evidence for Peru and Pakistan," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 347-67, May.
  2. Kenneth A. Swinnerton & Carol Ann Rogers, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," Labor and Demography 9903002, EconWPA.
  3. Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
  4. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  5. Jafarey, Saqib & Lahiri, Sajal, 2002. "Will trade sanctions reduce child labour?: The role of credit markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 137-156, June.
  6. 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.
  7. Luis Felipe López Calva, 2002. "A social stigma model of child labor," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 17(2), pages 193-217.
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