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Child labor handbook

  • Cigno, Alessandro
  • Rosati, Furio C.
  • Tzannatos, Zafiris

This paper surveys many aspects and issues of child labor, including its causes and effects as well as policies associated with it. Child labor has come to be considered an expression of poverty, both a cause and an effect of underdevelopment. Child labor cannot be viewed in isolation from educational, health, fertility, and technological issues; and is not necessarily an aberration but a rational household response to an adverse economic environment. With this in mind, the following proposition was supported - that forbidding children to work or making school attendance compulsory without changing the economic environment may, if effectively enforced, leave children worse off. There is a tendency to believe that income redistribution from the rich to the poor is more powerful for reducing child labor than a universal income rise. It is also indicated that child labor cuts across policy boundaries: health, education, labor market, capital security, criminal law, international peace keeping, income growth, and distribution all have a bearing on child labor. Therefore, reducing child labor cannot be regarded as just another policy issue.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 25507.

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Date of creation: 31 May 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:25507
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  1. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C., 1996. "Jointly determined saving and fertility behaviour: Theory, and estimates for Germany, Italy, UK and USA," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1561-1589, November.
  2. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
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