April 2002

IZA DP No. 470: Does Globalisation Increase Child Labour?

published in: World Development, 2002, 30 (9), 1579-1589;
see IZA Reprints 158/03

There is no empirical evidence that trade exposure per se increases child labour. As trade theory and household economics lead us to expect, the cross-country evidence seems to indicate that trade reduces or, at worst, has no significant effect on child labour. Consistently with the theory, a comparatively well educated labour force, and active social policies, appear to be conducive to a reduction in child labour. For countries with a largely uneducated workforce, the problem is not so much globalisation, as being allowed to take part in it.