Child Labor: Between Family and Contextual Determinants
Home Economics Theory, based on classical approaches as Becker's time allocation theory (1965), focuses on economic variables to explain this phenomenon, especially family income. The decision of children's work is understood as maximizing family well-being. On the other hand, Life-Course theory assumes that individuals are in a historical and social context (Dewilde, 2003). So, the individual is shaped by his context and the values that characterize his time.
Economic Sociology has as presuppositions: 1) the relativization of rationality that guides economic action and 2) the relationship between social representations and patterns of behavior and social organization. Therefore, it can concatenate the conception of the influence of individual and family rational choices and how these choices are embedded in contextual social relations.
This article proposes an innovation: the multilevel model (Goldstein, 1995), which takes into account the data grouping structure. This is a possibility to convergence Macro and Micro Level Sociology, allowing a new reflection on child labor. The model allows an overlapping analysis between intrafamilial variables - family income, labor market insertion, family size, schooling of those responsible - and contextual variables of the municipality - estimation of poor families, informality rate, dropout rate, coverage of social programs, percentage of rural population.