Child labor

Christopher Udry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Poverty
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780195305197
StatePublished - Sep 6 2006


  • Agency
  • Financial markets
  • Human capital
  • Investments
  • Social policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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