Adolescent Workers in Third World Export Industries: Attitudes of Young Brazilian Shoemakers
J. Lawrence French
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Department of Management
Industrial & Labor Relations Review, January 2002
Child labor is widely condemned, but recently there have been calls to distinguish between acceptable and harmful work for adolescents. This study, based on data gathered in 1998 in Brazil's export-oriented shoe industry and in the local commercial sector, focuses on adolescents' attitudes toward work in global industries, family businesses and self-directed jobs. Among young workers employed in firms, those in the shoe industry viewed their work less favorably than those in commerce; however, no differences were found between shoe and commercial workers employed by their families. A second finding is that within the shoe industry, which was contracting, family workers had more positive attitudes than did firm employees, but within the expanding commercial sector the opposite was true. Finally, there is evidence that self-directed jobs, in which employees themselves largely determine how to perform their specific tasks, were associated with positive attitudes.
Keywords: child labor, Brazil
JEL Classification: J13, J28, L67, N36, O17Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 11, 2002
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