Lipton Matthews, Austin Young, Walter E. Block

Published: 2023 | DOI: 10.58183/pjps.04022023


Many commentators attribute the decline of child labor in advanced economies to legislation prohibiting this practice. But another view asserts that the amount of child labor declined because rising affluence curbed the demand for and the supply of child laborers. Growing prosperity and cultural changes made it more convenient to educate children, thereby absolving the need for this practice. Although the decline of child labor is best explained by material prosperity, it will be demonstrated in this paper that not only can abolishing child labor be counterproductive, but in some cases, it is a vital platform for the accumulation of human capital. Did child labor all but end in advanced countries because of legislation prohibiting it? Or was it due to the fact that these economies were so well developed, so wealthy, that they could afford to keep youngsters in school instead? The former view is the most popular, the latter, the most correct, as we show in this paper.

How to cite

Matthews L., Young A., Block W.E., The Economics of Child Labor, „Polish Journal of Political Science”, 2023, Vol. 9, Issue 4, pp. 28–46, DOI: 10.58183/pjps.04022023.