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Breaking The Net: Family Structure And Street Children In Zambia

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  • Claudia Olivetti

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Francesco Strobbe

    (World Bank)

  • Mireille Jacobson

    (RAND Corporation & NBER)

Abstract

Drawing on original fieldwork in the slums of Ndola in Northern Zambia we study the role of family structure in caring for vulnerable children. We try to isolate those features of a child’s nuclear and extended family that put him most at risk of ending up on the streets. We find that older, male children and particularly orphaned children are more likely to wind up on the street. Families with a male household head who is in poor health are more likely to originate street children. The educational level, age and employment status of the male head of household has little impact on the likelihood a child has taken to the street. In contrast, households with surviving maternal grandparents or with a male head who has many sisters are significantly less likely to originate street children. These findings support the critical role that women play in poor countries and highlight the importance of policies aimed at empowering women. At the same time, our findings suggest that policies aimed at improving the health of the male head of household can also yield important benefits.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-042.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-042

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