Social policy and human capital

Investment in human capital and public service delivery remain major policy concerns in Indonesia. Both public and private spending on health is relatively low, while the large increase in public spending on education in the past decade has yet to yield any positive impact. In addition, human capital investments in Indonesia face substantial challenges with regards to governance, inequality in access to public services, and quality of education and health care. As a result, health and education outcomes fall behind those of its Southeast Asian neighbours. These issues are likely to have long welfare consequences, and frustrate Indonesia’s ambition to achieve sustainable growth and significantly reduce poverty.

Research at the Indonesia Project on this theme focuses on the constraints and risks that Indonesian households face in enhancing and harnessing their human capital, and improving our understanding of how public policies may benefit health and education outcomes, as well as improve welfare and reduce inequality.

Current research projects

  • Health equity and financial protection
  • Long term impacts of economic shocks on health outcomes of children
  • Poverty, labour markets and trade liberalisation
  • Efficiency and effectiveness of decentralized public spending in health and education
  • Gender equality and social inclusion
  • Welfare impacts of community-driven development programs

Selected publications

  • Kis-Katos, K, J Pieters & R Sparrow. 2018. Globalization and social change: Gender-specific effects of trade liberalization in Indonesia. IMF Economic Review 66(4): 763-93.
  • Hatton T, Sparrow R, D Suryadarma & P van der Eng. 2018. Fertility and the health of children in Indonesia. Economics and Human Biology 28(2): 67-79.
  • Dong, SX. 2018. Does economic crisis have different impact on husbands and wives? Evidence from the Asian Financial Crisis in Indonesia. Review of Development Economics 22(4): 1489-512.
  • Wicaksono, TY & F Witoelar. 2018. Early educational experience and later educational outcomes: Evidence from school transition in Indonesia. Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (accepted, forthcoming).
  • McCarthy, J & M Sumarto. 2018. Distributional politics and social protection in Indonesia: Dilemma of layering, nesting and social fit in Jokowi’s poverty policy. Journal of Southeast Asian Economies 35(2): 223-36.
  • Utomo, A, A Reimonas, P McDonald, I Utomo & T Hull. 2018. Who wears the hijab? Predictors of veiling in Greater Jakarta. Review of Religious Research 60(4): 477-501.