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A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor

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  • Rogers Carol Ann

    (Georgetown University)

  • Swinnerton Kenneth A

    (U.S. Department of Labor)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rogers Carol Ann & Swinnerton Kenneth A, 2005. "A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor," Labor and Demography 0510006, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0510006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:3:p:698-712 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Del Carpio, Ximena V. & Loayza, Norman V. & Wada, Tomoko, 2016. "The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on the Amount and Type of Child Labor," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 33-47.
    3. Irving Rosales, 2013. "Learn, sweat or steal: a theory of development and the activity of children," Working Papers 0613, Universidad Iberoamericana, Department of Economics.
    4. Bernd Beber & Christopher Blattman, 2010. "The Industrial Organization of Rebellion: The Logic of Forced Labor and Child Soldiering," HiCN Working Papers 72, Households in Conflict Network.
    5. Olivier Bargain & Delphine Boutin, 2017. "Minimum Age Regulation and Child Labor: New Evidence from Brazil," Working Papers hal-01629988, HAL.
    6. Caroline Orset, 2008. "A Theory of Child Protection against Kidnapping," Cahiers de recherche 0816, CIRPEE.
    7. Randall Akee & Arnab K. Basu & Arjun Bedi & Nancy H. Chau, 2014. "Transnational Trafficking, Law Enforcement, and Victim Protection: A Middleman Trafficker's Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 349-386.
    8. Del Carpio, Ximena V. & Loayza, Norman V., 2012. "The impact of wealth on the amount and quality of child labor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5959, The World Bank.
    9. Chau, Nancy H., 2009. "Sweatshop Equilibrium," IZA Discussion Papers 4363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Jorge Soares, 2010. "Welfare Impact Of A Ban On Child Labor," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1048-1064, October.
    11. Sylvain Dessy & Stéphane Pallage, 2003. "The Economics of Child Trafficking," Cahiers de recherche 0323, CIRPEE.
    12. Edmonds, Eric V. & Shrestha, Maheshwor, 2014. "You get what you pay for: Schooling incentives and child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 196-211.
    13. Eric V. Edmonds, 2014. "Does minimum age of employment regulation reduce child labor?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-73, July.
    14. Davies, Ronald B., 2005. "Abstinence from child labor and profit seeking," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 251-263, February.
    15. Sylvain Dessy & Caroline Orset & Legrand Yémélé Kana, 2012. "The Global Fight against Child Trafficking: How Can It Be Won ?," Cahiers de recherche 1213, CIRPEE.
    16. Sonnabend, Hendrik, 2015. "Good Intentions and Unintended Evil? Clients’ Punishment in the Market for Sex Services with Voluntary and Involuntary Providers," EconStor Preprints 110682, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    17. Chau, Nancy H., 2016. "On sweatshop jobs and decent work," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 120-134.
    18. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A Swinnerton, 2005. "Slave Redemption When it Takes Time to Redeem Slaves," Development and Comp Systems 0510006, EconWPA.
    19. Sylvain E. Dessy & Flaubert Mbiekop & Stéphane Pallage, 2005. "The Economics of Child Trafficking (Part II)," Cahiers de recherche 0509, CIRPEE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    child labor; exploitation;

    JEL classification:

    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics

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