Does Globalization Increase Child Labor? Evidence from Vietnam

51 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2002  

Eric V. Edmonds

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Nina Pavcnik

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 2002

Abstract

This paper considers the impact of liberalized trade policy on child labor in a developing country. While trade liberalization entails an increase in the relative price of the exported product, trade theory provides ambiguous predictions on how this price change affects the incidence of child labor. In this paper, we exploit regional and intertemporal variation in the real price of rice to examine the relationship between price movements of a primary export and the economic activities of children. Using a panel of Vietnamese households, we find that reductions in child labor are increasing with rice prices. Declines in child labor are largest for girls of secondary school age, and we find a corresponding increase in school attendance for this group. Overall, rice price increases can account for almost half of the decline in child labor that occurs in Vietnam in the 1990s. Greater market integration, at least in this case, appears to be associated with less child labor. Our results suggest that the use of trade sanctions on exports from developing countries to eradicate child labor is unlikely to yield the desired outcome.

Suggested Citation

Edmonds, Eric V. and Pavcnik, Nina, Does Globalization Increase Child Labor? Evidence from Vietnam (January 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w8760. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=299181

Eric V. Edmonds

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

6106 Rockefeller Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Nina Pavcnik (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

6106 Rockefeller Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2537 (Phone)
603-646-2122 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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