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

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  • Serra, Renata

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.

Suggested Citation

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

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    Cited by:

    1. Sylvain Dessy & Setou Diarra & Roland Pongou, 2017. "Underage Brides and Grooms’ Education," Working Papers 1704E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    2. Beegle, Kathleen & Filmer, Deon & Stokes, Andrew & Tiererova, Lucia, 2010. "Orphanhood and the Living Arrangements of Children in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 1727-1746, December.
    3. Monica Grant & Sara Yeatman, 2014. "The Impact of Family Transitions on Child Fostering in Rural Malawi," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(1), pages 205-228, February.
    4. Sylvain Dessy, Setou Diarra, Roland Pongou & Setou Diarra & Roland Pongou, 2016. "Adolescent Brides and Grooms' Education: Theory and Evidence," Cahiers de recherche 1610, Centre de recherche sur les risques, les enjeux économiques, et les politiques publiques.
    5. Eric V. Edmonds & Maheshwor Shrestha, 2013. "Independent child labor migrants," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 5, pages 98-120 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. 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.
    7. Lauren Gaydosh, 2015. "Childhood Risk of Parental Absence in Tanzania," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1121-1146, August.
    8. Kielland, Anne, 2016. "The Role of Risk Perception in Child Mobility Decisions in West Africa, Empirical Evidence From Benin," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 312-324.
    9. Dessy, Sylvain & Diarra, Setou & Pongou, Roland, 2017. "Underage Brides and Grooms' Education," MPRA Paper 77326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Kasedde, Susan & Doyle, Aoife M. & Seeley, Janet A. & Ross, David A., 2014. "They are not always a burden: Older people and child fostering in Uganda during the HIV epidemic," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 161-168.
    11. Dionne, Georges & Ouederni, Karima, 2011. "Corporate risk management and dividend signaling theory," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, pages 188-195.

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