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

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio Camillo & Tzannatos, Zafiris, 2001. "Child labor, nutrition, and education in rural India : an economic analysis of parental choice and policy options," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 24081, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:24081
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Pierre Lachaud, 2007. "Les déterminants de l'inactivité économique et de la non-scolarisation des enfants aux Comores et à Madagascar. Existe-t-il une courbe de Kuznets ?," Documents de travail 140, Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.
    2. Furio Camillo Rosati & Mariacristina Rossi, 2003. "Children's Working Hours and School Enrollment: Evidence from Pakistan and Nicaragua," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 283-295, December.
    3. Sonia Bhalotra & Christopher Heady, 2003. "Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 197-227, December.
    4. Leonardo Becchetti & Giovanni Trovato, 2005. "The Determinants of Child Labour: The Role of Primary Product Specialization," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(2), pages 237-271, June.
    5. O.O'Donnell & F.Rosati & E.van Doorslaer, 2003. "Health Effects of Children's Work: Evidence from Vietnam," UCW Working Paper 2, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).

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