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Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso

  • Richard Akresh


    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Researchers claim that children growing up away from their biological parents may be at a disadvantage and have lower human capital investment. This paper measures the impact of child fostering on school enrollment and uses household and child fixed effects regressions to address the endogeneity of fostering. Data collection by the author involved tracking and interviewing the sending and receiving household participating in each fostering exchange, allowing a comparison of foster children with their non-fostered biological siblings. Foster children are equally likely as their host siblings to be enrolled after fostering and are 3.6 percent more likely to be enrolled than their biological siblings. Relative to children from non-fostering households, host siblings, biological siblings, and foster children all experience increased enrollment after the fostering exchange, indicating fostering may help insulate poor households from adverse shocks. This Pareto improvement in schooling translates into a long-run improvement in educational and occupational attainment.

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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 897.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:897
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  1. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, T S, 2005. "Working-Age Adult Mortality and Primary School Attendance in Rural Kenya," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 619-53, April.
  2. repec:ucf:inndig:inndig99/17 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Akresh, Richard, 2005. "Risk, Network Quality, and Family Structure: Child Fostering Decisions in Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 1471, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Mothers and Others: Who Invests in Children’s Health?," Working Papers 277, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  5. 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.
  6. Fafchamps, Marcel & Wahba, Jackline, 2006. "Child labor, urban proximity, and household composition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 374-397, April.
  7. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Joseph Ableidinger, 2004. "Orphans in Africa: Parental Death, Poverty and School Enrollment," Working Papers 183, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  8. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Minnie Ames, 2003. "Schooling and Parental Death," HEW 0303001, EconWPA.
  9. David Evans & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Orphans and schooling in africa: a longitudinal analysis," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 35-57, February.
  10. Thomas, Duncan & Beegle, Kathleen & Frankenberg, Elizabeth & Sikoki, Bondan & Strauss, John & Teruel, Graciela, 2004. "Education in a crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-85, June.
  11. Anne Case & I-Fen Lin & Sara McLanahan, 1999. "How Hungry is the Selfish Gene?," NBER Working Papers 7401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Donna K. Ginther & Robert A. Pollak, 2000. "Does family structure affect children's educational outcomes?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2000-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  13. David Bishai & Heena Brahmbhatt & Ron Gray & Godfrey Kigozi & David Serwadda & Nelson Sewankambo & El Daw Suliman & Fred Wabwire-Mangen & Maria Wawer, 2003. "Does biological relatedness affect child survival?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 8(9), pages 261-278, May.
  14. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Joseph Ableidinger, 2002. "Orphans in Africa," NBER Working Papers 9213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ainsworth, Martha & Filmer, Deon, 2002. "Poverty, AIDS, and children's schooling - a targeting dilemma," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2885, The World Bank.
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