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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