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The inter-generational persistence of child labor


  • Emerson, Patrick M.
  • Portela Souza, Andre


The authors use the"Pesquisa Nacional por Amostragem a Domicilio"(PNAD) data for Brazil. Their paper asks two related questions. First, does the child labor status of parents impact the child labor incidence of their children? The authors find strong evidence that it does. Second, is this link only a function of permanent family income or is there a direct link between the child labor status of the parents, and their children? They find evidence that such a direct link exists. This complements their previous research (Emerson and Souza 2002) in which they went on to ask if a person works as a child, would this increase the probability of his, or her child working by more than what can be explained, by the fact that the person will be poor as an adult (by virtue of having been a child worker), and therefore compelled to send the child to work? The answer to this is also yes. Hence, the presence of social factors can cause the perpetuation of child labor through non-income channels. It is, for instance, possible that having been a child laborer oneself, affects one's social norms, and attitude to child labor (Basu 1999, Lopez-Calva 2002), such that one is more prone to send ones'own child to work.

Suggested Citation

  • Emerson, Patrick M. & Portela Souza, Andre, 2005. "The inter-generational persistence of child labor," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 32746, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:32746

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
    2. Ranjan Ray, 2000. "Analysis of child labour in Peru and Pakistan: A comparative study," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(1), pages 3-19.
    3. Peter Jensen & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 1997. "Child labour or school attendance? Evidence from Zambia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 407-424.
    4. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    5. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "Child Labor And The Education Of A Society," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 220-249, April.
    6. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 1997. "Family size, schooling and child labor in Peru - An empirical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405.
    7. Ray, Ranjan, 2000. "Child Labor, Child Schooling, and Their Interaction with Adult Labor: Empirical Evidence for Peru and Pakistan," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 347-367, May.
    8. Glomm, Gerhard, 1997. "Parental choice of human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-114, June.
    9. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-427, June.
    10. Emerson, Patrick M & Souza, Andre Portela, 2003. "Is There a Child Labor Trap? Intergenerational Persistence of Child Labor in Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 375-398, January.
    11. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 158-175, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anirudh Krishna, 2011. "Characteristics and Patterns of Intergenerational Poverty Traps and Escapes in Rural North India," Working Papers id:3940, eSocialSciences.
    2. Ilahi, Nadeem & Orazem, Peter F. & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 2005. "How does working as a child affect wage, income, and poverty asan adult?," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 32745, The World Bank.

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