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Child labor, nutrition, and education in rural India : an economic analysis of parental choice and policy options

  • Cigno, Alessandro
  • Rosati, Furio Camillo
  • Tzannatos, Zafiris

The causes and consequences of child labor are examined within a household decision framework with survival uncertainty and endogenous fertility. The data come from a nationally representative survey of Indian rural households. The complex interactions uncovered by the analysis suggest that mere prohibition of child labor, or the imposition of school attendance, would make things worse, and would be difficult to enforce. Beneficially reducing child labor requires changing the economic environment to which the work of children constitutes, in the great majority of cases, the rational response. Suitable policies include capillary provision of schools, and public health improvements. The effects of these policies go far beyond direct impacts. They have favorable indirect repercussions on the school attendance, educational expenditure, labor participation, and nutritional status of children. They also discourage fertility. Women's education, and income re-distribution are also helpful, but land re-distribution may be counterproductive.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 24081.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:24081
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