Effect of Growing Up Poor on Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Indonesia

Poverty and Inequality Analysis

This paper investigates the long-term effect of child poverty on labor market outcomes using a 14-year span of data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey. Our instrumental variables estimation shows that a child who lived in a poor family when aged between eight and 17 years old suffers from an 87% earnings penalty relative to a child who did not grow up in a poor family. The direct effect remains large after we account for a large set of mediators. Depending on the set of mediators that we use, we estimate an earnings penalty of between 85% and 90%. Similarly, we do not find any evidence that receiving various government transfer programs mediates the effect of growing up poor on earnings as adults.


Research Area 
child poverty
instrumental variable
labor market outcomes
Publication Type 
Working Paper
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