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Do you work or do you study? Children's work in a comparative historical perspective
Camps, Enriqueta
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
In this paper we compare two historical scenarios very different one to each other bothin institutional and geographical terms. What they have in common is the situation ofrelative poverty of most of the population. On the one side we are dealing withhistorical industrializing Catalonia in the North East of Spain, a country exhibiting pooreconomic yields in the context of European and non European industrializing nations inthe 19th century. We compare children s work patterns in 19th century Catalonia withthose of current developing countries in Latin America, Africa and South and East Asia.This kind of exercise in which the nexus of the comparison are the levels of wealth ofcountries that are unsuccessful to achieve high standards of economic growth allows usto combine the micro historical analysis (in the Catalan case) with the macrocomparative approach in current developing countries. By means of both, the microhistorical analysis and the macro regression analysis we obtain the result that adultwomen s skills and real wages are a key factor when we want to explain the patterns ofchildren work. While female real wages increased a sharp rate in 19th century Cataloniawe obtain very different results in the case of developing countries. This differentgender bias helps to explain why in some cases children continue to work and also whysome parts of the world continue to be poor according to our regression analysis.
Economic and Business History
children work
women’s work
human capital
income inequality
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Working Paper

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