Publication Date

January 1999

Publication Details

Chaudhri, DP, Nagar, AL, Rahman, T and Wilson, EJ, Determinants of Child Labour in Indian States: Some Empirical Explorations (1961-1991), Working Paper 99-9, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 1999.


Growing concern about the incidence of child labour and attempts for its elimination at the national and international levels has been attracting attention of researchers. The complexities of the issue and the problems of inter-relatedness of factors affecting incidence of child labour are also being realised.1 Policy formulation in India, in the rest of South Asia and elsewhere is still based on wisdom derived from micro studies2, variables known to have correlation with the incidence of child labour and those which are presumed to drive demand and supply of child labour. Most of these variables are not only interdependent but have very different implications if the magnitudes or their interactions are different over time or across states as is happening in different states of India. Examining the issue of the Determinants of Child Labour by bringing in these interdependent factors in a conventional economic model is very demanding in theoretical assumptions and data needs. Time series data for long enough periods are neither available nor very useful in view of structural breaks that occur in the process of economic growth. Dealing with cross section data either on a geographical basis (e.g. States) or disaggregated by sub-sectors brings in the complications of the variations due to regions (states) or sub-sectors specificity. This paper is an attempt to combine the two (variations due to time and state specific factors) in a model and bring out the interdependence in a formal way. The paper attempts to examine the phenomenon of child labour in India and is a preliminary search for the factors which affect demand and supply of child labour. The paper is divided into five sections. Section I deals with the incidence of child labour and its socio-economic correlates. In Section II, we present the results of factor analysis. Section III is devoted to model specification, and estimation procedures. Results are given in Section IV. The concluding section brings out the implications for policy and further research.