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Understanding Poverty$
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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Roland Bénabou, and Dilip Mookherjee

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305197

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195305191.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 June 2020

Child Labor

Child Labor

(p.243) 16 Child Labor
Understanding Poverty

Christopher Udry (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In order to construct effective policies to address the problem of child labor, it is necessary to understand the circumstances that lead parents to send their children to work. The essay is organized as follows. The second section briefly describes some of the main features of child labor in developing countries. The third section discusses the first of two features of child labor that give it a central place in a vicious cycle of poverty. This is the fact that the primary costs of child labor are realized so far in the future. When financial markets are poorly developed, the separation in time between the immediate benefits and long-delayed costs of sending children to work can result in too much child labor. The second feature is that the costs and benefits of child labor are not only separated in time; they are borne by different people: the child suffers the main consequences, while other household members benefit. This problem of agency is discussed in the fourth section. The fifth section concludes with a discussion of child labor policies.

Keywords:   financial markets, agency, human capital, investments, social policy

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