|CIRJE-F-1119||"Disability and Poverty: Landmine Amputees in Cambodia"|
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This paper examines the impacts of disability on poverty in rural Cambodia. I combine a natural experiment and spatial blocking. First, I focus on amputation among adults due to landmines, which is free from measurement errors and the onset of which is an exogenous shock. Second, I conduct an original survey stratified by disability status within villages, where people have shared the same local vulnerability to landmine accidents. This research design enables a matching analysis within small geographic areas, treating demographic factors, such as household formation and fertility, as endogenous. Amputation greatly reduces consumption and income, but not subjective well-being (i.e., adaptation), increasing poverty and augmenting its magnitude, especially among the poorest of the poor. Disability triggers a vicious circle of low labor productivity, low earnings, and low accumulation of productive assets and social capital. This productivity-cum-asset channel also leads to adverse intergenerational effects on child schooling and labor.