Were American Parents Really Selfish? Child Labour in the 19th Century

27 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2006

See all articles by V. Bhaskar

V. Bhaskar

University College London

Bishnupriya Gupta

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2006

Abstract

Using the US Commissioner of Labor Survey of 1890, we examine household decisions and parental altruism vis-a-vis their children. Contrary to Parsons and Goldin (1989), we find that parental location choices were dictated by constraints rather than the desire to exploit child labour opportunities. We also find signfiicant income effects on child labour supply, indicating that rising affluence played an important part in the secular decline of child labour. We also find that the effects of children's income on their own consumption are weak, once child labour is controlled for.

Keywords: Child labour, parental altruism

JEL Classification: D13, J13, N31

Suggested Citation

Bhaskar, V. and Gupta, Bishnupriya, Were American Parents Really Selfish? Child Labour in the 19th Century (May 2006). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5675, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=921854

V. Bhaskar (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London
United Kingdom

Bishnupriya Gupta

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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