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Are Foster Children Made Better Off by Informal Fostering Arrangements?

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  • Legrand Yémélé Kana
  • Sylvain Dessy
  • Jacques Ewoudou

Abstract

Research on the effects of informal child fostering arrangements on the welfare of the children involved highlights cross-country disparities. Why may there be differences across countries with regard to the effects of informal child fostering arrangements? If in all countries reporting a high incidence of foster children Hamilton’s rule applies, then these cross-country differences are puzzling. Our model of child fostering arrangements builds on the fact that a child’s school performance is jointly influenced by his nutrition status and the time he has available at home to develop his learning skills and prepare for national school tests. Given this feature of academic performance, fostering out may become a poor parent’s best option for enhancing his child’s academic excellence, by trading off study time for better nutrition. We show that child fostering arrangements embedding this human capital motive for out-fostering make the foster child better off when nutrition is paramount to a child’s ability to achieve academic excellence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 1009.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:1009

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Keywords: Child fostering; child nutrition; foster child's welfare;

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  1. Fafchamps, Marcel & Wahba, Jackline, 2006. "Child labor, urban proximity, and household composition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 374-397, April.
  2. 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.
  3. Harold Alderman & Jere Behrman & Victory Lavy & Rekha Menon, . "Child Nutrition, Child Health, and School Enrollment: A Longitudinal Analysis," CARESS Working Papres 97-21, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  4. Richard Akresh, 2009. "Flexibility of Household Structure: Child Fostering Decisions in Burkina Faso," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
  5. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1990. "Estimating the Intrahousehold Incidence of Illness: Child Health and Gender-Inequality in the Allocation of Time," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(4), pages 969-80, November.
  6. Serra, Renata, 2009. "Child fostering in Africa: When labor and schooling motives may coexist," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 157-170, January.
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