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Children's Work and Independent Child Migration: A critical review


  • Eric Edmonds
  • Maheshwor Shrestha


This review considers the evidence from child labour research that is relevant to understanding independent child migration for work. Three factors are relevant: first, migration for work is one of the many possible alternatives for child time allocation. The methodological and analytical tools used in the study of child labour are thus applicable to this study. Second,independent child migration for work will be reduced by factors that improve alternatives to migration. Child labour at home is one possible alternative to migrating. Thus, influences on child labour will affect independent child migration by altering the pressures that push children into migration. Third, the issues that arise in understanding why employers use children are also relevant to understanding what factors pull children into migration. In existing data resources, two methods are used to identify independent child migrants: the roster method and the fertility survey method. The roster approach identifies migrants by enumerating residents in sampled households. As such, it measures migrants in destination areas and misses children that are difficult to locate, especially those who migrate out of country. In the fertility survey method mothers account for the status of all of their children. This is useful for identifying origin areas for the migrants but is uninformative about the current condition of the child migrant. Stronger data collection efforts are necessary to better measure the extent of working independent child migrants and understand both the source and the living conditions of independent child migrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Edmonds & Maheshwor Shrestha, 2009. "Children's Work and Independent Child Migration: A critical review," Papers inwopa586, Innocenti Working Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucf:inwopa:inwopa586

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric V. Edmonds & Norbert Schady, 2012. "Poverty Alleviation and Child Labor," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 100-124, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kielland, Anne, 2016. "The Role of Risk Perception in Child Mobility Decisions in West Africa, Empirical Evidence From Benin," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 312-324.

    More about this item


    child labour; child trafficking; migrant children; unaccompanied children;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration


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