Department of Economics

Welfare Impact of a Ban on Child Labor

Department of Economics 
University of Delaware
Working Paper #2009-01

Welfare Impact of a Ban on Child Labor

Jorge Soares

ABSTRACT

This paper presents a new rationale for imposing restrictions on child labor. In a standard overlapping generations model where parental altruism results in transfers that children allocate to consumption and education, the Nash-Cournot equilibrium results in sub-optimal levels of parental transfers and does not maximize the average level of utility of currently living agents. A ban on child labor decreases children's income and generates an increase in parental transfers bringing their levels closer to the optimum, raising children's welfare as well as average welfare in the short-run and in the long-run.  Moreover, the inability to work allows children to allocate more time to education, and it leads to an increase in human capital. Besides, to increase transfers, parents decrease savings and, hence, physical capital accumulation. When prices are flexible, these effects diminish the positive welfare impact of the ban on child labor.

JEL Codes: D91, E21

Keywords:  Child Labor, Altruism, Overlapping Generations, Welfare

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