The Effects of Income Changes on Child Labour

A review of evidence from smallholder agriculture

This desk study reviews the literature on the relationship between income changes and child labor, focusing on smallholder agriculture in developing countries. While the initial aim was to understand this relationship in the specific context of cocoa farming in West Africa, limited data availability led the scope to be broadened.

The study seeks to answer the following questions:

  • How does the use of child labor respond to changes in farmers’ income?
  • What are some of the factors that shape this relationship? (i.e. the gender and age of the children, baseline income levels, and asset ownership).

Understanding these linkages can inform policy making and the design of interventions aiming to strengthen smallholder farmers’ incomes, to ensure they support the reduction of, or at least avoid increases in, child labor.

The study selects peer-reviewed publications that apply sound methodologies to identify the causal effect of changes in income on child labor. Out of more than 400 published articles on income and child labor in developing countries, some 50 “core” studies meet minimum quality criteria and are summarized in this review.

About this Publication

By Chiara Ravetti