Children's labor market involvement, household work, and welfare: A Brazilian case study [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 92 (1):63-78 (2010)
The large numbers of children working in developing countries continue to provoke calls for an end to such employment. However, many reformers argue that efforts should focus on ending the exploitation of children rather than depriving them of all opportunities to work. This posture reflects recognition of the multiplicity of needs children have and the diversity of situations in which they work. Unfortunately, research typically neglects these complexities and fails to distinguish between types of labor market jobs, dismisses household chores as irrelevant, and conceptualizes children’s needs largely in terms of the education they require for successful careers. Based on data collected in schools in Franca, Brazil, where children often combine school with work in the shoe industry, this study first examined the implications of labor market jobs and household work for their health, life satisfaction, and education. Analyses suggested that both forms of work negatively affected children’s welfare, but the effects of household work were more extensive, especially for girls. The second part focused on children with labor market jobs and examined how facets of their jobs as well as their after-work household duties affected their welfare. A lack of discretion on the job undermined the health of both boys and girls, higher pay adversely affected boys’ education, and housework had detrimental effects on all indicators of girls’ welfare. This paper discusses the implications of these findings for further research and suggests the needs for attention to different forms of work activities within families. It concludes with suggestions for multinationals sourcing in developing areas that go beyond the usual calls for ridding their facilities and supply networks of child workers
Keywords adolescents  Brazil  children  gender  labor market  household  work
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