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Toiling children in India: the gender dimension

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– Child labour in several low-income households is rather pursued for gaining experience and at times for meagre incomes, which are possibly spent on household food expenditure. The purpose of this paper is to estimate the incidence of child labour and identifies the factors which explain participation of the children in the labour market. It also focuses on some of the outcomes of labour market participation of the children.


– Based on the primary survey of the slum households in four Indian cities this paper applies certain quantitative techniques to estimate child labour and the factors that explain their participation in the labour market.


– Though the contribution made by the child labour to the overall well-being does not turn out to be substantial, without child labour these households would have been much worse off than the households which can afford not to have child labour. The probability of working is higher for a male child compared to a girl child. This is because the girl children are often engaged in household activities and even when they are engaged in income earning jobs they are shown as helpers. Parents' income as such may not be having a positive impact on child's education.


– The study is based on a primary survey. It employs certain indirect methods to arrive at a more realistic estimate of the incidence of child labour. Besides, it focuses on the quantitative methods to identify the factors that explain child labour. Finally the policy implications are brought out.
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Keywords: Children (age groups); Gender; India; Labour market; Labour mobility; Schools; Well-being

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India 2: Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India 3: Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO), Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: August 23, 2013

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