The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Child Labour

  • Kaushik Basu
Reference work entry


According to latest available estimates, somewhere between 14 to 18 per cent of all children between the ages of 5 and 14 years in the world are labourers. The causes of child labour are many but the primary one is poverty, since for most parents sending children to work is an act of desperation. The availability of decent schools and the provision of small incentives, such as school meals, can help limit child labour. Hence, the best policy response is to improve conditions on the adult labour market, provide better schooling and, on rarer occasions, use legal interventions.


Child labour Education Household production Industrial Revolution Poverty 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaushik Basu
    • 1
  1. 1.