Date of Completion


Embargo Period



child labor

Major Advisor

Susan Randolph

Associate Advisor

Nishith Prakash

Associate Advisor

Delia Furtado

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The purpose of this research is to examine the causes and consequences of child labor. The first chapter of this work examines the empirical relationship between working and educational expenditure budget shares for children ages 5-14 in Mexico. The results indicate that, on average, girls engaged in paid work have total annual education expenditure shares that are 49% higher than girls who do not work. This relationship varies significantly with characteristics of both the individual and the household. The second chapter explores the differential impact of migration by male and female household members on household decision making and child outcomes. Using household and individual level data from four rounds of the Indonesian Family Life Survey and exploiting an instrumental variables approach, this paper shows that as the total number of household migrants increases, both the probability that a child works and his actual work hours decline. On the other hand, the total number of migrants has no impact on school attendance, but children in households with only female migrants are less likely to attend school overall. The final chapter examines the impact of state level political reservation for two minority groups, namely Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, on child labor in India. We estimate the effect of political reservation on child labor using data from state and household level surveys on fifteen major Indian states. We find that at the household level, ST reservation decreases the incidence of child labor, while SC reservation increases the total number of children working.