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Child farm labour : the wealth paradox

  • Bhalotra, Sonia
  • Heady, Christopher

This paper is motivated by the observation that children in land-rich households are often more likely to be in work than the children of land-poor households. The vast majority of working children in developing countries are in agricultural work, predominantly on farms operated by their families. Land is the most important store of wealth in agrarian societies and it is typically distributed very unequally. These facts challenge the common presumption that child labour emerges from the poorest households. We suggest that this seeming paradox can be explained by failures of the markets for labour and land. Credit market failure will tend to weaken the force of this paradox. We model these effects and estimate the model on data from rural Pakistan and Ghana. A striking finding of the paper is that, after controlling for household consumption and other covariates, the wealth paradox persists for girls but, for boys in both countries, it vanishes.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 24088.

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Date of creation: 31 Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:24088
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  17. Benjamin, Dwayne, 1992. "Household Composition, Labor Markets, and Labor Demand: Testing for Separation in Agricultural Household Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 287-322, March.
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