Child Labor and Economic Development

Living reference work entry


Two hundred and eighteen million children work in the world today. Seventy percent are in activities classified as child labor under local laws. While in policy circles child labor is often viewed as a rights issue, it is also an economic issue. Working children are both a cause and a consequence of a lack of economic development. Widespread child employment dampers future economic growth through its negative impact on child development and depresses current growth by reducing unskilled wages and discouraging the adoption of skill-intensive technologies. Child employment also appears to result from a lack of economic growth. Rising incomes are associated with improvements in the family’s ability to triage economic shocks without child labor, shifts in production to outside of the home, and greater demand for education and leisure. These factors all lead to declines in the economic activity of children.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsAmherst CollegeAmherstUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • M. Niaz Asadullah
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty Of Economics And AdministrationUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Centre on Skills, Knowledge & Organisational PerformanceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Dept of EconomicsUniversity of ReadingReadingUK
  4. 4.School of Education, Environment and Development (SEED),University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  5. 5.IZA Institute of Labor EconomicsBonnGermany

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