Journal Issue: World Bank Economic Review, Volume 17, Issue 2

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Conditional Cash Transfers, Schooling, and Child Labor : Micro-Simulating Brazil's Bolsa Escola Program
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Bourguignon, Francois ; Ferreira, Francisco H.G. ; Leite, Phillippe G.
A growing number of developing economies are providing cash transfers to poor people that require certain behaviors on their part, such as attending school or regularly visiting health care facilities. A simple ex ante methodology is proposed for evaluating such programs and used to assess the bolsa escola program in Brazil. The results suggest that about 60 percent of poor 10- to 15-year-olds not in school enroll in response to the program. The program reduces the incidence of poverty by only a little more than one percentage point, however, and the Gini coefficient falls just half a point. Results are better for measures more sensitive to the bottom of the distribution, but the effect is never large.
Child Labor and Development : An Introduction
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Basu, Kaushik ; Tzannatos, Zafiris
Long neglected by economists, child labor has experienced a sudden resurgence of interest as a subject of research and analysis since the mid-1990s. This is surprising at first glance, because the global incidence of child labor has been on the decline for several decades now. What accounts for the increased interest? One factor is the growing emphasis in the development literature on poverty reduction, particularly among the most vulnerable sections of the population, which includes children, especially working children. Simultaneously, with the heightened recognition of the importance of human capital accumulation as a catalyst and perhaps even a prerequisite for development, child labor is viewed as a major impediment to economic progress.
Child Labor : Lessons from the Historical Experience of Today's Industrial Economies
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Humphries, Janes
Child labor was more prevalent in 19th-century industrializers than it is in developing countries today. It was particularly extensive in the earliest industrializers. This pattern may be a source of optimism signaling the spread of technologies that have little use for child labor and of values that endorse the preservation and protection of childhood. Today and historically, orphaned and fatherless children and those in large families are most vulnerable. Efficient interventions to curb child labor involve fiscal transfers to these children and active policies toward street children. Changes in capitalist labor markets (including technology), family strategies, state policies, and cultural norms are examined to shed light on the causes, chronology, and consequences of child labor.
Child Farm Labor : The Wealth Paradox
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Bhalotra, Sonia ; Heady, Christopher
This article is motivated by the remarkable observation that children of land-rich households are often more likely to be in work than the children of land-poor households. The vast majority of working children in developing economies are in agricultural work, predominantly on farms operated by their families. Land is the most important store of wealth in agrarian societies, and it is typically distributed very unequally. These facts challenge the common presumption that child labor emerges from the poorest households. This article suggests that this apparent paradox can be explained by failures of the markets for labor and land. Credit market failure will tend to weaken the force of this paradox. These effects are modeled and estimates obtained using survey data from rural Pakistan and Ghana. The main result is that the wealth paradox persists for girls in both countries, whereas for boys it disappears after conditioning on other covariates.
Children's Working Hours and School Enrollment : Evidence from Pakistan and Nicaragua
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Rosati, Furio Camillo ; Rossi, Mariacristina
Although much of the literature on child labor looks at the decision on whether to send a child to school or to work (or both), little attention has focused on the number of hours worked. This article analyzes the determinants of school attendance and hours worked by children in Pakistan and Nicaragua. A theoretical model of children's labor supply is used to simultaneously estimate the school attendance decision and the hours worked, using a full model maximum likelihood estimator. The model analyzes the marginal effects of explanatory variables, conditioning on latent states, that is, the propensity of the household to send the child to work or not. These marginal effects are in some cases rather different across latent states, with important policy implications.
Child Labor : A Normative Perspective
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Satz, Debra
Examining child labor through the lenses of weak agency, distributive inequality, and harm suggests that not all work performed by children is equally morally objectionable. Some work, especially work that does not interfere with or undermine their health or education, may allow children to develop skills they need to become well-functioning adults and broaden their future opportunities. Other work, including child prostitution and bonded labor, is unambiguously detrimental to children. Eliminating these forms of child labor should be the highest priority. Blanket bans on all child labor may drive families to choose even worse options for their children, however. Moreover, child labor is often a symptom of other problems poverty, inadequate education systems, discrimination within families, ethnic conflicts, inadequately protected human rights, weak democratic institutions that will not be eliminated by banning child labor.
Targeting Child Labor in Debt Bondage : Evidence, Theory, and Policy Implications
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Basu, Arnab K. ; Chau, Nancy H.
Despite recent multilateral efforts to single out child labor in debt bondage as one of the worst forms of child labor, several important questions have yet to be addressed: How pervasive is the phenomenon? Are there systematic correlations between the incidence of children in debt bondage and the economic, legislative, and financial development indicators of the economy? How does an understanding of these correlates affect the way national and international policy measures aimed at targeting this form of child labor are perceived? This article addresses each of these questions. The empirical findings suggest strong correlation between the likelihood of the incidence of child labor in debt bondage with the stage of development of an economy, the stage of financial development, and enforcement of core labor rights. Building on this evidence, the article presents a theoretical model that highlights the drawbacks and merits of a number of policies aimed at putting checks on child labor in debt bondage.
The Global Child Labor Problem : What Do We Know and What Can We Do?
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Basu, Kaushik ; Tzannatos, Zafiris
The problem of child labor has moved from a matter of regional and national concern to one of international debate and possible global persuasion and policy intervention. In crafting policy for mitigating this enormous problem of our times, it is important to start with a proper theoretical and empirical understanding of the phenomenon. What gives rise to child labor, and what are its consequences? What interventions might end child labor without hurting children? A well-meaning but poorly designed policy can exacerbate the poverty in which these laboring children live, even leading to starvation. The article surveys the large and rapidly growing literature on this subject, focusing mainly on the new literature based on modern economic theory and econometrics. It also looks at some of the broad policy implications of these new findings, with the objective of contributing to better informed discussion and policy design.
Understanding Children's Work : An Interagency Data and Research Cooperation Project
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-05) Fyfe, Alec ; Roselaers, Frans ; Tzannatos, Zafiris ; Rosati, Furio
During the 1990s broad interest resurfaced among the public and policymakers on the subject of child labor, this time concentrating on the plight of children in the developing world. The children summit in New York (1990), the world summit on social development in Copenhagen (1995), and the International Labour Organization (ILO) adoption of convention 182 on elimination of the worst forms of child labour (1999) are clear evidence of the increasing international concern. In several conferences leading up to the 1999 ILO convention (Geneva 1996, Amsterdam 1997, Cartagena 1997, and Oslo 1997), the same commitment to combat child labor was expressed, along with the need for closer cooperation between international organizations, a point emphasized especially in Oslo. With the adoption of the millennium development goals in 2000, the realization quickly grew that international and national efforts to address key developmental objectives will objectives will be hampered unless there are adequate data for measuring monitoring and managing results; sufficient capacity to use the data at the local level supplemented by technical assistance; donor harmonization of policies for setting global (rather than donor) priorities and exploring synergies among all stakeholders; and conditional on the previous three areas timely and relevant policy interventions.