NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Child Labor

Eric V. Edmonds

NBER Working Paper No. 12926
Issued in February 2007
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS

In recent years, there has been an astonishing proliferation of empirical work on child labor. An Econlit search of keywords "child lab*r" reveals a total of 6 peer reviewed journal articles between 1980 and 1990, 65 between 1990 and 2000, and 143 in the first five years of the present decade. The purpose of this essay is to provide a detailed overview of the state of the recent empirical literature on why and how children work as well as the consequences of that work. Section 1 defines terms commonly used in the study of child time allocation and provides a descriptive overview of how children spend their time in low income countries today. Section 2 reviews the case for attention to the most common types of work in which children participate, focusing on that work's impact on schooling, health, as well as externalities associated with that work. Section 3 considers the literature on the determinants of child time allocation such as the influence of local labor markets, family interactions, the net return to schooling, and poverty. Section 5 discusses the limited evidence on different policy options aimed at influencing child labor. Section 6 concludes by emphasizing important research questions requiring additional research such as child and parental agency, the effectiveness of child labor policies, and the determinants of participation in the "worst forms" of child labor.

download in pdf format
   (599 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (599 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12926

Published: Edmonds, Eric V., 2008. "Child Labor," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Beegle, Dehejia, and Gatti w10980 Why Should We Care About Child Labor? The Education, Labor Market, and Health Consequences of Child Labor
Edmonds and Pavcnik w8760 Does Globalization Increase Child Labor? Evidence from Vietnam
Edmonds and Schady w15345 Poverty Alleviation and Child Labor
Chakraborty and Kim w13828 Caste, Kinship and Sex Ratios in India
Dehejia and Gatti w9018 Child Labor: The Role of Income Variability and Access to Credit Across Countries
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us