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Poverty and child farm labour in Africa: wealth paradox or bad orthodox
The link between poverty and child labor has traditionally been regarded as well established but recent researches have questioned its validity, suggesting that child labor is more important in the richest households (wealth paradox). The present study revisits the link between poverty and farm child labor in Africa and aims at testing the paradoxical wealth effect. Using different modeling techniques, the analysis focuses on family-controlled child labor taking place in the cocoa sector of Côte d'Ivoire. The results reveal that the effect of different commonly used wealth proxies have opposite effects on child labor participation and are sometimes sensitive to the modeling technique. This mixed result is the root of the apparent wealth paradox found in the literature. However, relevant and robust wealth proxies clearly indicate a positive relationship between poverty and child labor. The study therefore sustains that the apparent wealth paradox found in the literature is the end result of a bad orthodoxy.