Autonomy in child labor migrants

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Economists have not perceived children as potential economic agents. This neglect may distort analyses of child labor supply, educational attendance and intrahousehold allocations in developing countries. Among child labor migrants from rural Karnataka, boys outnumber girls and exhibit more autonomy in their economic behavior. This paper identifies the determinants of autonomous migration behavior, and tests theories proposing autonomy to be associated with characteristics of individuals, households and social environments. The empirical results are used to evaluate behavioral presumptions underpinning analysis of child labor supply. While the conventional assumption of no child agency is innocuous for younger children of both sexes and girls in all age-groups, it is hard to defend for boys aged 13-14. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-834
Number of pages17
JournalWorld Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Autonomy
  • Child behavior
  • Child migration
  • Household models
  • India
  • South Asia


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