In an empirical microeconomic analysis that allows individual heterogeneity, we test four main hypotheses from the recent macroeconomic literature on child labor: the substitution, subsistence, capital market and parental education hypotheses. Using four Indian data sets, we find that at most two-thirds of the increase in school-enrollment from 1982/83 to 1999/00 is explained by increased household incomes and increased parental education. Hence, more than one-third is left unexplained, which opens room for explanations related to access to schools or traditions and norms. An increased need for and value of substituting children for working household heads exert a small counteracting effect.
Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 2002, Vol 45, Issue 3
Child labor; India; Substitution; Subsistence; Capital market; Parental education