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Child labor : what have we learnt?

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  • Sonia Bhalotra, and Zafiris Tzannatos

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to review what has been learnt from the growing volume of applied research on child labor and to indicate directions for future research. We start by looking at research by the World Bank, which has played a fairly pioneering role in this area in data collection and, increasingly, in data analysis, more recently in cooperation with other agencies, such as the ILO and UNICEF. With a view to guiding policy interventions in this area, we attempt to identify the patterns which arise from the study of a wide range of countries. We emphasize that the current state of empirical research makes this task difficult: A striking feature of available research is the sheer variety of results that it has produced. This review discusses the extent to which this diversity is a result of methodological problems, as opposed to genuine country variations. We argue that the neglect of statistical issues such as endogeneity, measurement error and aggregation error has biased the results of a number of studies. At least as important a shortcoming is that empirical research has been conducted without adequate reference to theory. As a result, the estimated equations are sometimes mis-specified and often difficult to interpret. This impedes the confidence with which policy prescriptions can be applied.

Suggested Citation

  • Sonia Bhalotra, and Zafiris Tzannatos, 2003. "Child labor : what have we learnt?," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 27872, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:27872
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Irineu Evangelista de Carvalho Filho, 2012. "Household Income as a Determinant of Child Labor and School Enrollment in Brazil: Evidence from a Social Security Reform," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 399-435.
    2. Dessy, Sylvain E., 2000. "A defense of compulsive measures against child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 261-275, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Pierre Lachaud, 2008. "Le travail des enfants et la pauvreté en Afrique : un réexamen appliqué au Burkina Faso," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(5), pages 47-65.
    2. Bezerra, Márcio Eduardo G. & Kassouf, Ana Lucia & Arends-Kuenning, Mary P., 2009. "The Impact of Child Labor and School Quality on Academic Achievement in Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 4062, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Sudha Narayanan & Sowmya Dhanraj, 2013. "Child Work and Schooling in Rural North India: What do Time Use Data Say about Tradeoffs and Drivers of Human Capital Investment?," Working Papers id:5597, eSocialSciences.
    4. Garcia, Luis, 2006. "Oferta de trabajo infantil y el trabajo en los quehaceres del hogar
      [The supply of child labor and household work]
      ," MPRA Paper 31402, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 2004. "Does Child Labor Decrease When Parental Incomes Rise?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 939-968, August.
    6. Reggio, Iliana, 2011. "The influence of the mother's power on her child's labor in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 95-105, September.
    7. Tzannatos, Zafiris, 2003. "Child labor and school enrollment in Thailand in the 1990s," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 523-536, October.
    8. Baland, Jean-Marie & Duprez, Cédric, 2007. "Are Fair Trade Labels Effective Against Child Labour?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6259, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Zapata, Daniela & Contreras, Dante & Kruger, Diana, 2011. "Child Labor and Schooling in Bolivia: Who's Falling Behind? The Roles of Domestic Work, Gender, and Ethnicity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 588-599, April.
    10. Dammert, Ana C., 2008. "Child labor and schooling response to changes in coca production in rural Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 164-180, April.
    11. Sonia Bhalotra, 2007. "Is Child Work Necessary?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(1), pages 29-55, February.
    12. Caine Rolleston, 2010. "Educational access and poverty reduction: the case of Ghana 1991-2006," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5,in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Gregorio Gim (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 32, pages 625-650 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    13. Bernhard Ganglmair, 2005. "Intrinsic Competition and the Labor-Schooling Trade-off in Uganda Competition in Child Labor and Schooling Decision Making in Uganda. Evidence from a Bivariate Probit Model," Labor and Demography 0504002, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 21 Sep 2005.
    14. DeGraff, Deborah S. & Levison, Deborah, 2009. "Children's Work and Mothers' Work--What is the Connection?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1569-1587, September.
    15. Vimefall, Elin, 2011. "What determines which children work? Empirical evidence from Kenya," Working Papers 2011:3, Örebro University, School of Business.
    16. Geoffrey Lancaster & Ranjan Ray, 2004. "Does Child Labour Affect School Attendance and School Performance?Multi Country Evidence on SIMPOC data," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 68, Econometric Society.
    17. Liyousew Gebremedhin Borga, 2015. "Children's Own Time Use and its Effect on Skill Formation," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp534, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    18. Dante Contreras Guajardo & Diana Kruger & Daniela Zapata, 2007. "Child labor and schooling in Bolivia: Who’s falling behind?," Working Papers wp248, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    19. Vimefall, Elin, 2015. "Income diversification and working children," Working Papers 2015:8, Örebro University, School of Business.
    20. Sonia Bhalotra, 2004. "Parent Altruism, Cash Transfers and Child Poverty," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 04/561, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    21. Baland, Jean-Marie & Duprez, Cédric, 2009. "Are labels effective against child labor?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1125-1130, December.

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