NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Poverty Alleviation and Child Labor

Eric V. Edmonds, Norbert Schady

NBER Working Paper No. 15345
Issued in September 2009
NBER Program(s):   CH

How important are subsistence concerns in a family’s decision to send a child to work? We consider this question in Ecuador, where poor families are selected at random to receive a cash transfer that is equivalent to 7 percent of monthly expenditures. Winning the cash transfer lottery is associated with a decline in work for pay away from the child's home. The cash transfer is greater than the rise in schooling costs that comes with the end of primary school, but it is less than 20 percent of the income paid to child laborers in the labor market. Despite being less than foregone earnings, poor families seem to use the lottery award to delay the child's entry into paid employment and protect the child's schooling status. Schooling expenditures rise with the lottery, but total expenditures in the household decline relative to the control population because of foregone child labor earnings.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15345

Published: Eric V. Edmonds & Norbert Schady, 2012. "Poverty Alleviation and Child Labor," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 100-124, November. citation courtesy of

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