Effectiveness of Trade and Non-trade Policies on the Incidence of Child Labour—A Three-Sector General Equilibrium Framework

  • Biswajit ChatterjeeEmail author
  • Runa Ray


This chapter considers a 3 × 3 × 3 competitive general equilibrium framework of a small open economy which exports product produced by child labour. In the first part, we abstract from unemployment to begin with and assume that adult labour market maintains full employment. Our objectives have been to investigate the effectiveness of trade and non-trade policies in the presence of child labour problem and also to examine the impacts on national welfare and trade balance of such an economy. In particular, in this chapter, we have examined the effectiveness of three different kinds of policies on the incidence of child labour. Among these three, one is trade policy and the rest are non-trade policies. First part of this chapter reveals that economic expansion via increase in adult labour endowment is ineffective in curtailing the incidence of child labour. The other two policies seem to be efficient in this ground. However, any policy designed to control child labour incidence must have an impact on welfare and trade balance situation of the economy. Trade balance situation worsens in case of economic expansion via increase in domestic capital stock. However, the other non-trade policy leaves it as unchanged. But the impact is ambiguous for the case of trade policy. Again, welfare impact is positive only in case of economic expansion via increase in adult labour endowment but ambiguous in the other two cases. Hence, from the above analysis, we observe that none of the policies simultaneously can have favourable impact on child labour supply, trade balance and welfare of the small open economy. In part two of the chapter, we introduce unemployment problem in the adult labour market on one hand, and retain the existence of a child labour market on the other hand. The economy is divided into one rural and two urban sub-sectors. Four inputs are used in the model among which three are specific in nature. The representative adult worker in this model not only supplies his own labour but also sends his children out to work. Factor market distortion in this model is captured by the existence of a factor price differential between urban and rural sectors. The model is used to analyse the effects of imposition of various forms of trade restrictions on the unemployment of adult workers on the one hand and on the incidence of child labour on the other. Alternative trade policy prescriptions to combat child labour as well as adult market unemployment problem have been analysed. An interesting result obtained from the exercise of trade policy suggests that supply of child labour is shown to vary inversely with the level of unemployment in the adult labour market. In part three, we focus on an important non-trade policy, namely education subsidy to find its effects on the incidence of child labour.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsJadavpur UniversityKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsVidyasagar CollegeKolkataIndia

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