The Short- and Longer-Term Effects of a Child Labor Ban

59 Pages Posted: 31 May 2022

See all articles by Caio Piza

Caio Piza

World Bank

Patrick M. Emerson

Oregon State University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Andre Portela Souza

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics

Vivian Amorim

World Bank

Abstract

Are bans effective at lowering child labor and increasing school attendance and, if so, do these effects lead to positive outcomes later in life? This paper seeks to answer these questions by examining the effect of a 1998 Brazilian law that increased the minimum employment age from 14 to 16. To examine this question we use two different regression discontinuity designs to analyze Brazilian household data. We find that the ban had no overall impact across affected children in Brazil, but that it led to a significant decrease in the labor market participation of urban boys, whose paid labor dropped 35 percent, driven mainly by a decrease in informal work. We also find a concomitant 10 percent increase in the share of urban boys only attending school. Interestingly, we find that by age 18 this cohort was still almost 20 percent less likely to have a paid job and was less likely to be economically active even when they were legally allowed to work. However, we find no evidence that the impact of the ban lasted over time as reflected in measures of educational attainment, employment rates, and wages. Our results suggest that when enforced, bans on child labor can have significant immediate impacts amongst affected populations, leading to a decrease in work and an increase in school attendance. It remains unclear if these impacts translate to improved adult outcomes.

Keywords: child labor, education, labor laws

JEL Classification: C21, J08, J22, J24, K31

Suggested Citation

Piza, Caio and Emerson, Patrick M. and Portela Souza, Andre and Amorim, Vivian, The Short- and Longer-Term Effects of a Child Labor Ban. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15324, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4123764 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4123764

Caio Piza (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Patrick M. Emerson

Oregon State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Corvallis, OR 97331
United States
(541) 737-1479 (Phone)
(541) 737-5917 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://oregonstate.edu/~emersonp/side2.htm

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
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Germany

Andre Portela Souza

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

Vivian Amorim

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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