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Flexibility of Household Structure: Child Fostering Decisions in Burkina Faso


  • Richard Akresh


Using data I collected in Africa, this paper examines a household’s decision to adjust its size through child fostering, an institution where biological parents temporarily send children to live with other families. Households experiencing negative idiosyncratic income shocks, child gender imbalances, located further from primary schools, or with more "good" quality network members (fewer subsistence farmers and unmarried individuals and more educated members) are significantly more likely to send a child. Results reject an overall symmetric fostering model across senders and receivers, but evidence of symmetry is found when the test is restricted to exogenous income shocks and gender imbalances.

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  • Richard Akresh, 2009. "Flexibility of Household Structure: Child Fostering Decisions in Burkina Faso," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:44:y:2009:i4:p976-997

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1993. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing, and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investment in Bullocks in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 223-244, April.
    2. Eric V. Edmonds & Kristin Mammen & Douglas L. Miller, 2005. "Rearranging the Family?: Income Support and Elderly Living Arrangements in a Low-Income Country," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
    3. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-685, May.
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