A Theory of the Worst Forms of Child Labour

20 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2004

See all articles by Sylvain Dessy

Sylvain Dessy

Université Laval - Département d'Économique

Stephane Pallage

University of Quebec at Montreal - Department of Economics; Centre interuniversitaire sur le risque, les politiques économiques et l'emploi (CIRPÉE)

Abstract

Although intuitive and morally compelling, a ban on the worst forms of child labour in poor countries is unlikely to be welfare improving. We show that harmful forms of child labour have an economic role: by maintaining wages for child labour high enough, they allow human capital accumulation in poor countries. Unless appropriate mechanisms are designed to mitigate the decline in child labour wages caused by reduced employment options for children, a ban on harmful forms of child labour will likely prove undesirable. We perform our analysis within a simple model of parental investment in children's education.

Suggested Citation

Dessy, Sylvain and Pallage, Stephane, A Theory of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Economic Journal, Vol. 115, No. 500, pp. 68-87, January 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=639744

Sylvain Dessy (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Stephane Pallage

University of Quebec at Montreal - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 8888, Downtown Station
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3P8
Canada
514-987-3000 ext. 8730 (Phone)
514-987-8494 (Fax)

Centre interuniversitaire sur le risque, les politiques économiques et l'emploi (CIRPÉE)

Pavillon De Sève
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

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