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Child labor : the role of income variability and access to credit in a cross-section of countries

  • Dehejia, Rajeev H.
  • Gatti, Roberta

Even though access to credit is central to child labor theoretically, little work has been done to assess its importance empirically. Dehejia and Gatti examine the link between access to credit and child labor at a cross-country level. The authors measure child labor as a country aggregate, and proxy credit constraints by the level of financial market development. These two variables display a strong negative (unconditional) relationship. The authors show that even after they control for a wide range of variables-including GDP per capita, urbanization, initial child labor, schooling, fertility, legal institutions, inequality, and openness-this relationship remains strong and statistically significant. Moreover, they find that, in the absence of developed financial markets, households resort to child labor to cope with income variability. This evidence suggests that policies aimed at increasing households'access to credit could be effective in reducing child labor.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2767.

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Date of creation: 31 Jan 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2767
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  1. Ranjan, P., 1999. ""Credit Constraints and the Phenomenon of Child Labor"," Papers 98-99-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  2. Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "Observations on International Labor Standards and Trade," NBER Working Papers 5632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
  4. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  5. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "The Quality of Government," Working Paper 19452, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  6. Karnit Flug & Antonio Spilimbergo & Erik Wachtenheim, 1996. "Investment in Education: Do Economic Volatility and Credit Constraints Matter?," Research Department Publications 4000, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  8. Eric Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2002. "Does Globalization Increase Child Labor? Evidence from Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 8760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gupta, Manash Ranjan, 2000. "Wage Determination of a Child Worker: A Theoretical Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 219-28, June.
  10. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
  11. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  12. Parsons, Donald O & Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Parental Altruism and Self-Interest: Child Labor among Late Nineteenth-Century American Families," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(4), pages 637-59, October.
  13. Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Coulombe, Harold, 1997. "Child labor and schooling in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1844, The World Bank.
  14. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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