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A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor

  • Rogers Carol Ann

    (Georgetown University)

  • Swinnerton Kenneth A

    (U.S. Department of Labor)

Child labor laws should aim to protect children who work, instead of trying to remove children from work. In this paper, we identify an instance when the risk of exploitation lowers the expected bene…t of child labor to the child,and therefore suppresses child labor force participation. Targeted legal intervention that lowers or removes the risk of exploitation raises child participation in the labor market, child welfare, and overall societal welfare. Targeting on child labor more broadly may reduce child labor force participation, child welfare, and overall societal welfare. Our key assumptions for generating these results are that parents decide for each child based on their child's best interest, that parents face imperfect information about the risks their children confront upon entering the labor market, and that firms may choose to exploit this information imperfection by employing children under forced-labor-type conditions.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/lab/papers/0510/0510006.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0510006.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 06 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0510006
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 29
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  2. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "Inequality, Productivity, and Child Labor," Labor and Demography 9907003, EconWPA, revised 30 Jul 1999.
  3. Arnab K. Basu & Nancy H. Chau, 2004. "Exploitation of Child Labor and the Dynamics of Debt Bondage," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 209-238, 06.
  4. Sylvain E. Dessy & Désiré Vencatachellum, 2003. "Explaining cross-country differences in policy response to child labour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(1), pages 1-20, February.
  5. Swinnerton, Kenneth A, 1996. "Minimum Wages in an Equilibrium Search Model with Diminishing Returns to Labor in Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 340-55, April.
  6. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  7. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1382-1385, December.
  8. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  9. Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1997. "An Essay on Economic Efficiency and Core Labour Standards," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 73-86, 01.
  10. Sylvain Dessy & Stephane Pallage, 2000. "Child Labor and Coordination Failures," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 109, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  11. Ranjan, P., 1999. ""Credit Constraints and the Phenomenon of Child Labor"," Papers 98-99-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  12. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-40, October.
  13. Genicot, Garance, 2002. "Bonded labor and serfdom: a paradox of voluntary choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-127, February.
  14. Sylvain E. Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2005. "A Theory of the Worst Forms of Child Labour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 68-87, 01.
  15. Sylvain Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2003. "The Economics of Child Trafficking," Cahiers de recherche 0323, CIRPEE.
  16. Natalia T. Tamirisa & R. B. Johnston, 1998. "Why Do Countries Use Capital Controls?," IMF Working Papers 98/181, International Monetary Fund.
  17. 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.
  18. Eric V. Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2005. "Child Labor in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 199-220, Winter.
  19. Arnab K. Basu & Nancy H. Chau, 2003. "Targeting Child Labor in Debt Bondage: Evidence, Theory, and Policy Implications," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 255-281, December.
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