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In order to understand what motivates parents to send their children to work, I apply a collective household model introducing child labor explicitly. Using data from Mexico, I am able to estimate the mothers' bargaining power separately from the other parameters of the model. I find that an increase in a mother's bargaining power is associated with fewer hours of work for her daughters but not for her sons. This implies that policies that target the mother as the recipient of welfare benefits, if they manage to affect the distribution of power within the household, may affect her children's work with different impacts for boys and girls. This result also suggests that the distribution of bargaining power within the household is a relevant factor that should be considered when analyzing household's decisions.
child labor; collective household models; intra-household bargaining power