The Economic Consequences of Death in South Africa
Using a large longitudinal dataset, we quantify the impact of adult deaths on household economic wellbeing. The timing of lower socioeconomic status observed for households in which members die of AIDS suggests that the socioeconomic gradient in AIDS mortality is being driven primarily by poor households being at higher risk for AIDS. Following a death, households that experienced an AIDS death are observed being poorer still. However, the additional socioeconomic loss following death is very similar to the loss observed from deaths from other causes. Funeral expenses can explain some of the impoverishing effects of death in the household.
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