Documentos de trabajo
Is child labor harmful? the impact of working as a child on adult earnings
Souza, André Portela Fernandes de
This paper explores the question: is working as young laborer harmful to an individual in terms of adult outcomes in income? This question is explored through the utilization of a unique set of instruments that control for the decision to work as a child and the decision of how much schooling to acquire. These instruments are combined with two large household survey data sets from Brazil that include retrospective information on the child labor and schooling of working-age adults: the 1988 and 1996 PNAD. Estimations of the reduced form earnings model are performed first by using OLS without controlling for the potential endogeneity of child labor and schooling, and then by using a GMM estimation of instrumental variables models that include the set of instruments for child labor and schooling. The findings of the empirical investigations show that child labor has large negative impact on adult earnings for both male and female children even when controlling for schooling. In addition, the negative impact of starting to work as a child reverses at around age 14. Finally, different child labor activities are examined to determine if some are beneficial while others harmful with the finding that working in agriculture as a child appears to have no negative impact over and above the loss of education.