Determinants of Child Labor in the Modern United States: Evidence from Agricultural Workers and Their Children and Concerns for Ongoing Public Policy
Economics Bulletin, Volume 36, Issue 1, March 2014, pp. 125-145
21 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2014
Date Written: 2014
Current legislative proposals consider amendments to child labor laws for U.S. agriculture. Similar amendments, however, have been unsuccessful recently. Using the National Agricultural Workers Survey, we show that child labor is still substantial in the modern U.S. despite some decreases over time, and argue that the lack of success of recent child labor policy decisions have left some young workers vulnerable. We therefore use the limited data that are available to examine determinants of farm and non-farm child labor in the U.S. and to consider relationships between child labor and propensities for families to participate in educational and welfare programs. As a majority of literature on child labor stems from the international context, this research lessens that gap by presenting the U.S. case drawn from a key industry sector while informing ongoing discussion pertaining to possible revisions to child labor laws and providing support for continued and expanded data collection.
Keywords: agricultural workers, child labor, public policy, United States
JEL Classification: I30; J43; J80
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation