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Child labor, income shocks, and access to credit

  • Dehejia, Rajeev H.
  • Beegle, Kathleen
  • Gatti, Roberta

Although a growing theoretical literature points to credit constraints asan important source of inefficiently high child labor, little work has been done to assess its empirical relevance. Using panel data from Tanzania, the authors find that households respond to transitory income shocks by increasing child labor, but that the extent to which child labor is used as a buffer is lower when households have access to credit. These findings contribute to the empirical literature on the permanent income hypothesis by showing that credit-constrained households actively use child labor to smooth their income. Moreover, they highlight a potentially important determinant of child labor and, as a result, a mechanism that can be used to tackle it.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3075.

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Date of creation: 30 May 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3075
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  16. 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.
  17. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Roberta Gatti, 2002. "Child labor: The role of income variability and access to credit across countries," Discussion Papers 0102-69, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
  19. 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 C158-75, March.
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