The Region

Why Johnny Can't Work - In Brief

Douglas Clement - Editor, The Region

Published June 1, 2005  |  June 2005 issue

Take your child to work?

  • Economists have developed a promising new model to explain why nations adopt child labor regulations.

  • The model hinges on a trade-off for parents with low work skills. If child labor is forbidden, parental wages increase due to less competition from child workers, but families lose income earned by their children.

  • Higher returns to education could motivate new parents to have few children and send them to school; parents who already have children are economically locked into support for child labor. A political majority favoring restrictions will be achieved only gradually, as the numerical balance shifts toward new, smaller families.

Why Johnny Can't Work [Complete article]

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