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Evolution Of Child Labor

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Others suggest that real decline in child labor came with compulsory education laws. Again however, forged documents allowed families to circumvent that regulation as well. Basu also claims that prosperity increased and therefore parents no longer had to force their children into the workforce. If Baland, Robinson’s, Krueger, and Donohue’s assessment of education reform and the welfare system worked out as their equations predicted, the third theory seemed viable. Nardinelli claims that employers no longer wanted child laborers with the advent of new technology. Basu, referred to economist Carolyn M. Moehling and her question, “was [it] the legislation that caused the decline in child labor or was it the diminishing dependence of industry…show more content…
Economists presided over the issue of child labor in the decades of 1980-2010. Their writings on the subject have dominated the field in contemporary history. The social history of child laborers is far behind in contemporary literature. While there is a great deal on the subject in the dawn of the twentieth century, there is little recent work. S.J. Kleinberg, a professor of American studies and history, reinvigorated the field in the twenty-first century with her social science article, “Children’s and Mothers’ Wage Labor in Three Eastern U.S. Cities, 1880-1920” published in Social Science History in 2005. In her article, she focuses not just on the child as the laborer, but on the family as a whole. The article takes a social view of the issue. Kleinberg argues that as child labor decreased, more mothers had to enter the workforce to compensate. Kleinberg proves this by examining three cities, Fall River, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland, each had very different demographics and economies. Kleinberg states, “This article explores the variations in children’s and mothers’ labor in three very different settings: Pittsburgh, Fall River, and Baltimore between…show more content…
Children played a crucial role in the industrial revolution, but historians often overlook their sacrifice and importance to the history of the industrial revolution in the United States. In the academic world, it has been economists, not historians that have drawn more attention to the issue of child labor. Through their theories and equations, they have unraveled the mysterious life of child laborers during the industrial revolution and have hypothesized how things would have turned out had child labor reform been different. Their work keeps changing and evolving as they build off each other’s theories. They also tend to work in pairs when writing articles. Their works cover a broad scope of topics. They investigate the reasons parents sent their children to work, who opposed or promoted child labor laws, they determine the efficiency of child laborers, they investigate education regulations for child laborers, and they attempt to explain the sudden decline in child labor. Economists have differing theses on these topics and often refer to other economists in their work. Historians and economists have warned researchers of child labor that what the data reveals may not be accurate. Parents, children, and employers often lied to evade the laws and regulations surrounding child labor. They lied about ages, school attendance, and anything else that gained them
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