Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Working Paper Number

WP #08022, June 2008; Old working paper #12952


The two most common state child labor restrictions are work permit requirements for teenagers and school dropout ages that are more stringent than federal requirements. If these laws are effectively targeted and enforced, children living in states legislating more stringent child labor laws should be less likely to work, should work fewer hours if they do work, and they should have better average schooling outcomes. Data show that stricter state laws do not lower significantly the likelihood that 14-15 year old youths work or the likelihood their hours exceed federal guidelines. Child labor laws do have small positive effects on academic outcomes. State work permit requirements modestly increase the likelihood of college entry while more stringent truancy laws increase marginally high school academic performance.

JEL Classification


File Format



35 pages

Included in

Economics Commons