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Child fostering in Africa: When labor and schooling motives may coexist

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  • Serra, Renata
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    Abstract

    The paper proposes a theoretical framework for understanding purposive child fostering in Africa, whereby a non-orphaned child is sent to live temporarily with relatives. In the model, adults decide whether to foster in or out a child in conjunction with other household choices, e.g. own time allocation between market and non-market activities, children's amount of work, and schooling. By allowing for positive externalities from fostering, and thus asymmetric motives for fostering in (labor) and out (human capital), the proposed framework predicts that school-age children are sent to better-off households and that some families may foster in and out simultaneously. The model identifies the conditions under which all actors involved, children included, may benefit from fostering arrangements, but also points to situations where fostering may become an opportunity to marginalize a subset of children. The paper aims to provide a sound theoretical foundation that sheds light on why there exists mixed empirical evidence on the effects of fostering on children's well being, and cautions against demonizing non-parent residence as unequivocally detrimental to children.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

    Volume (Year): 88 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 157-170

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:88:y:2009:i:1:p:157-170

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

    Related research

    Keywords: Child fostering Economic household models Child labor Selected investment in children Sub-Saharan Africa;

    References

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    1. Blunch, Niels-Hugo & Verner, Dorte, 2000. "Revisiting the link between poverty and child labor - the Ghanaian experience," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2488, The World Bank.
    2. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
    3. Andvig, Jen Christopher, 2001. "Family - controlled child labor in Sub-Saharan Africa - a survey of research," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24086, The World Bank.
    4. Paul Bennell, 2005. "The Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on the Schooling of Orphans and Other Directly Affected Children in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 467-488.
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    12. Grootaert, Christiaan, 1998. "Child labor in Cote d'Ivoire: incidence and determinants," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1905, The World Bank.
    13. Akresh, Richard, 2005. "Risk, Network Quality, and Family Structure: Child Fostering Decisions in Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 1471, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Ainsworth, Martha & Filmer, Deon, 2002. "Poverty, AIDS, and children's schooling - a targeting dilemma," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2885, The World Bank.
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    16. Iversen, Vegard, 2002. "Autonomy in Child Labor Migrants," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 817-834, May.
    17. Martha Ainsworth & Kathleen Beegle & Godlike Koda, 2005. "The Impact of Adult Mortality and Parental Deaths on Primary Schooling in North-Western Tanzania," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 412-439.
    18. Frederick J. Zimmerman, 2003. "Cinderella Goes to School: The Effects of Child Fostering on School Enrollment in South Africa," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    19. Richard Akresh, 2004. "Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso," Working Papers 897, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    20. Kalanidhi Subbarao & Diane Coury, 2004. "Reaching Out to Africa's Orphans : A Framework for Public Action," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14909, October.
    21. Castle, Sarah E., 1995. "Child fostering and children's nutritional outcomes in rural Mali: The role of female status in directing child transfers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 679-693, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Monica Grant & Sara Yeatman, 2014. "The Impact of Family Transitions on Child Fostering in Rural Malawi," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 205-228, February.
    2. Porter, Gina & Hampshire, Kate & Abane, Albert & Munthali, Alister & Robson, Elsbeth & Mashiri, Mac & Tanle, Augustine & Maponya, Goodhope & Dube, Sipho, 2012. "Child Porterage and Africa’s Transport Gap: Evidence from Ghana, Malawi and South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 2136-2154.
    3. Legrand Yémélé Kana & Sylvain Dessy & Jacques Ewoudou, 2010. "Are Foster Children Made Better Off by Informal Fostering Arrangements?," Cahiers de recherche 1009, CIRPEE.
    4. Beegle, Kathleen & Filmer, Deon & Stokes, Andrew & Tiererova, Lucia, 2009. "Orphanhood and the living arrangements of children in sub-saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4889, The World Bank.

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