OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

Child Labour in Africa

  1. This paper presents an overview of child labour in Africa. It discusses the incidence and nature of child labour, possible causes, and actual and potential policy instruments. It answers some questions and raises others.
  2. Africa has the highest incidence of child labour in the world. While child labour has been declining in Asia and Latin America, economic decline, war, famine and HIV/AIDS have combined to prevent this in Africa. Contrary to the popular image of child labour in factories managed by Dickensian employers, the overwhelming majority of working children in Africa are employed on household-run farms and enterprises. Recent theoretical and policy-level discussion has neglected to recognise the implications of this fact. Thus, for example, considerable attention has been dedicated to consideration of the impact on child labour of minimum wages or trade sanctions when, given the nature of work performed by most children in Africa (and, indeed, by the majority in other ...


JEL: J82: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Standards: National and International / Labor Standards: Labor Force Composition
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