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The impact of wealth on the amount and quality of child labor

  • Del Carpio, Ximena V.
  • Loayza, Norman V.

This paper analyzes to what extent, and under what conditions, an increase in household wealth affects the use of child labor in poor households. It develops a simple theoretical model, which uses child labor, training, and schooling to maximize household income over time, subject to resource constraints. Then, it conducts an empirical analysis using randomized trial data, which were collected for the evaluation of the 2006 Nicaragua conditional cash transfer program. This social program transfers wealth to poor families in rural areas, conditional on children's school attendance and health check-ups. In addition, for one third of the beneficiaries, there is a further wealth transfer to start a non-agricultural business. The paper finds that the conditional cash transfer program affected the volume and quality of child labor, reducing it in the aggregate and steering it towards skill-forming activities. Specifically, the program appears to have reduced the use of child labor for household chores and farm work, while increasing it for the non-traditional, skill-forming activities related to commerce and retail. Moreover, the paper finds that the source behind the increase in skill-forming child labor is not the basic component, which provides a transfer for paying for schooling and health services, but it's the business-grant component, which provides a household grant for the creation of a micro business or a new economic activity.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5959.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5959
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  1. Sonia Bhalotra & Christopher Heady, 2003. "Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 03/553, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Basu, Kaushik & Das, Sanghamitra & Dutta, Bhaskar, 2009. "Child Labor and Household Wealth : Theory and Empirical Evidence of an Inverted-U," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 888, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Orazio Attanasio & Emla Fitzsimons & Ana Gomez & Martha Isabel Gutiérrez & Costas Meghir & Alice Mesnard, 2006. "Child education and work choices in the presence of a conditional cash transfer programme in rural Colombia," IFS Working Papers W06/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2009. "Changing households'investments and aspirations through social interactions : evidence from a randomized transfer program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5137, The World Bank.
  5. Ranjan, P., 1999. ""Credit Constraints and the Phenomenon of Child Labor"," Papers 98-99-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  6. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 2003. "A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor," Development and Comp Systems 0306005, EconWPA.
  7. Edmonds, Eric V., 2007. "Child Labor," IZA Discussion Papers 2606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  9. Ponczek, Vladimir Pinheiro & Souza, André Portela Fernandes de, 2007. "The causal effect of family size on child labor and education," Textos para discussão 162, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  10. Martin Valdivia & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," Working Papers 941, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  11. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Parker, Susan W., 2001. "Conditional cash transfers and their impact on child work and schooling," FCND briefs 123, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. Beegle, Kathleen & Dehejia, Rajeev H & Gatti, Roberta, 2004. "The Education, Labour Market and Health Consequences of Child Labour," CEPR Discussion Papers 4443, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Ana C. Dammert, 2009. "Heterogeneous Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers: Evidence from Nicaragua," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(1), pages 53-83, October.
  14. Deolalikar, Anil B & Vijverberg, Wim P M, 1987. "A Test of Heterogeneity of Family and Hired Labour in Asian Agriculture," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(3), pages 291-305, August.
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