The effect of prime age adult mortality on household composition and consumption in rural Ethiopia
Using panel data from Ethiopia covering 1994-1997, we estimate the impact of prime age adult mortality on household composition, household expenditures and dietary diversity. We employed propensity score matching with a difference-in-difference estimator to control for endogeneity of mortality to the outcomes of interest. Households losing a productive adult did not replenish the lost labor, regardless of economic status, sex or status of the deceased adult. With the exception of non-poor households, adult mortality resulted in increased dependency ratios, but did not adversely affect households' expenditure patterns (total, food and non-food expenditures) regardless of the sex and position of the deceased and the economic status of the households. Although food expenditures were protected, a decline in dietary diversity, especially among the poorest households, reflected increased nutrition insecurity associated with adult mortality.
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