Some remarks on the economics of child labour<sup>*</sup>

Sonia Bhalotra

in The Role of Labour Standards in Development

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264911
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754098 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Original Paperbacks

Some remarks on the economics of child labour*

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The responsibility for child labour is often cast as resting with (exploitative) employers. This creates a demand for legislation that bars employers from employing children. However, a careful look at household survey data suggests that the majority of employers are parents and, when not, parents have volunteered the child for work. This chapter focuses on the majority case of children working to help the family survive. It briefly discusses the role of legislation in curbing child labour, while arguing that it is not a substitute for efforts directed at creating income-generating opportunities amongst the poor and improving their access to education. Even when legislation is effective in lowering the incidence of child labour, it remains relevant to consider where children removed from the labour market go, which is why so much of the emphasis in the contemporary development literature is on education.

Keywords: child labour; family survival; poor people; education; labour market

Chapter.  3346 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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