Thursday, 10 June 2021

"The relationship between child labour and income is striking."

"The main reason children do not work in wealthy countries is precisely because they are wealthy. The relationship between child labour and income is striking."
          ~ Benjamin Powell, from his essay 'The Case Against Child Labour Prohibitions'

"Most economic historians conclude that ... legislation was not the primary reason for the reduction and virtual elimination of child labour between 1880 and 1940. Instead they point out that industrialisation and economic growth brought rising incomes, which allowed parents the luxury of keeping their children out of the work force."
          ~ Robert Waples, from his article 'Child Labour in the United States'
[Hat tip Yaron Brook]


  1. Hi Peter,

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  2. Mechanization helped. For example, many children were employed in glass blowing factories making beer bottles. Mechanizing that process obviated the need for child labor--they simply weren't useful anymore. Similarly, mechanization of farming removed the need to hire children to help in the fields--they couldn't operate the farming equipment unless they were trained.

    It wasn't a smooth transition--see the manufacture of chronometeres--but the rise in mechanized manufacturing was a major contributing factor to the reduction of child labor. And of course this correlates (has a complex causal relationship with) wealth.


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