Essays on Non-Cognitive Skills, Child Labor and Working Conditions

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)

Degree Level





Arya Gaduh

Committee Member

Gema Zamarro

Second Committee Member

Jingping Gu


Applied Econometrics, Colombia, Development Economics, Indonesia, Labor Economics, Non-cognitive Skills


This dissertation uses two institutional datasets for two developing countries and examines several dimensions of economic development. Chapter 1 and 2 use an IV approach to identify the impact of international remittances on the welfare of individuals left behind in Colombia. In Chapter 1, I provide evidence that remittances reduce child labor participation, and the amount of hours worked, a margin ignored by the literature so far. In addition, Chapter 2 explores the impact that this remittance income has over the working conditions for informal workers, a type of job characterized by long working hours and lack of social benefits. I provide evidence that remittances not only reduce the amount of hours worked but also increase the likelihood of having health insurance for individuals with informal jobs. Chapter 3 uses a difference-in-difference approach to analyze the effect of parental shocks on skill formation. Using data for Indonesia, I provide evidence that parental shocks in childhood affect the level of conscientiousness and neuroticism in adulthood, two personality traits related with socio-economic success.

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