Poverty and Children's Work in Historical Spain and in Current Developing Countries. First Results.
In the first part of this paper we portray the relationship between mothers’ earnings, fertility and children’s work in the Spanish (Catalan) context of the second half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century. Specific human capital investment in adult working women had as an outcome the sharp increase of their real wage and also the increase of the opportunity cost of time devoted to house work including child rearing. Fertility evolution is endogenous to the model and decreases as a result of women real wage increases. Human capital investment of labouring women and mandatory schooling of children shift the labour supply function to a new steady state in which the slope of the function is steeper. According to recent papers this model applies to 20th century Spain and it causes the abolition of children’s work. Nonetheless this model does not apply to nowadays developing world. The increasing spread of the informal sector of the economy and economic inequality imply the increasing use of part time women’s and children work. This fact has a high opportunity cost since our results clearly show that in this set of countries women education is the main factor that fosters fertility diminution and the removal of children from the labor force.
Human capital, Children’s Work, Women’s ,Work, Fertility, Income Inequality
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