The Differential Impact of 4Ps on Child Labor Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Poverty is widely considered the root cause of child labor in the Philippines. Thus, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was designed to alleviate poverty and reduce child labor through financial assistance, conditional on welfare investments like children’s education. Using 2017, 2019, and 2020 data from the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), the study estimated the differential impact of 4Ps on child labor before and during COVID-19 across varying demographic, socio-economic, and locational characteristics. Results from the propensity score matching (PSM) and difference-in-differences (DID) model indicated that since cash transfers cannot fully offset the opportunity cost of children’s education, children of beneficiaries are still likely to work. The findings also revealed that female-led families, households residing in rural areas, and households with family sizes greater than four have a higher likelihood of engaging in child labor. Moreover, despite living above the poverty threshold, households could still be forced to engage in child labor due to increasing inflation rates and declining purchasing power.