Prashant Bharadwaj, Leah Lakdawala, Nicholas Li, 05 December 2013

The most popular regulation against child labour is a ban against it. This column presents evidence from such a ban in India. Not only did the ban not reduce child labour, but it even increased it. The effects are concentrated among the poorest families. Therefore, policy reforms other than bans could be more effective in reducing child labour, and in improving the lives of children.

Matthias Doepke, Fabrizio Zilibotti, 12 October 2009

Rich-country governments and consumer groups pressure poor countries to discourage child labour through boycotts and international labour standards. Yet child labour continues unabated. This column suggests international activism may be partially to blame, because reducing the use of child labour in the formal sector decreases domestic pressures to prohibit it throughout the economy.

Juan Manuel Puerta, 02 August 2008

Widespread child labour may slow economic development in a number of ways, and legislation reducing child labour might break such a poverty trap. Why is such legislation rare? This column looks at the historical experience of the United States in eradicating child labour and suggests that industries highly dependent on child labourers may be the political stumbling block.

Jane Humphries, 24 April 2008

Child labour remains a pervasive problem across the globe. This column discusses the nature of child labourers’ jobs, earnings, motivations, and well-being during the British Industrial Revolution. Their historical experience offers lessons for today’s policymakers.

Eric Edmonds, Nina Pavcnik, 19 July 2007

Why are children working? Eliminating trade-linked jobs does not change the circumstances that cause children to work. Empirically, children are less likely to work in countries with more international trade.

Guillermo de la Dehesa, 24 May 2007

Allegations of “social dumping” are often used to justify calls for protectionist measures against developing-nation exports. Economic research suggests that such calls are based in on a series of misconceptions.


CEPR Policy Research