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Three essays on the causal impacts of child labour laws in Brazil

Caio Piza

Economics PhD Theses from Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: This thesis focuses on different impacts of an important change in Brazil’s child labour legislation. In December 1998, Brazil raised the minimum employment age from 14 to 16 banning from the labour force children who turned 14 just after the law passed. Two year later, in December 2000, Brazil institutionalised an apprenticeship programme aimed at children aged 14 to 17. In chapter one of this thesis I investigate the short run effects of both laws on children’s time allocation using a regression discontinuity design technique. I look at the impact of both laws on schooling and labour market outcomes for two cohorts: children just under age 14 and teenagers just under age 16. The second chapter turns attention to the long-term effects of the 1998 ban, comparing the labour market and schooling outcomes of the cohorts who turned 14 before and after the law came into effect. The analysis is conducted for white and non-white males to check how the ban affected individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds. This is the first study that looks at the long-term effects of a child labour ban. The third chapter investigates whether the ban had spillover effects on time allocation of younger siblings and parents. This is chapter covers a broad set of outcomes, exploring family composition and potential liquidity constraints to shed light on potential underlying mechanisms. This thesis contributes to the understanding of the consequences of child labour legislation, looking at immediate impacts on children themselves, long-term effects, and spillover effects on other household members. Its main results show that such legislation may have unintended consequences, long-lasting effects, and affect time allocation of other household members in ways policy makers might not be able to foresee.

Date: 2016-11
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