Is Bonded Labor Voluntary? Evidence from the Liberation of the Kamaiyas in the Far-Western Region of Nepal
The UN estimates that 20 million are held in bonded labor. Several economic analyses assert that bonded laborers accept these contracts voluntarily, which could imply that a ban would make such laborers worse off. We question the voluntary nature of bonded labor, discuss different theories and new evidence on the issue, and propose a new mechanism whereby landlords keep workers trapped. With different types of landlords not revealed to the laborer, we show how some landlords manipulate loan terms so that the laborer becomes bonded if future labor is rendered as collateral. Enforcement mechanisms and the monopolistic market for credit thus play a joint role. Providing alternative sources of credit, offering proper conflict resolution institutions for settling labor-contract disputes and banning the practice of bonded labor could emancipate bonded laborers, which would make them better off.
Interim Governance Arrangements in Post-Conflict and Fragile Settings
Incubating change-makers. Youth-driven innovative approaches to accountability in Nepal
Jenny Bentley, Saul Mullard
Social accountability and water integrity: Learning from experiences with participatory and transparent budgeting in Ethiopia and Nepal
Birke Otto, Floriane Clement, Binayak Das, Hari Dhungana, Lotte Feuerstein, Girma Senbeta, Jasmina Van Driel