Child labour has always been one of the core concerns of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In this paper, we investigate whether ILO conventions have contributed to reducing the scale of the problem. We use two approaches to answering the question. Evidence based on country-level data shows that, by 1990, countries having ratified ILO conventions were in no different position concerning child labour than nonratifying states. Using individual-level data on school attendance from the 1990s, there is little evidence for an increase in school attendance for children protected by ILO convention No. 138 as compared to unprotected children.


Child labour, school attendance, international labour standards, ILO.