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The Gift of the Dying: The Tragedy of AIDS and the Welfare of Future African Generations

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  • Alwyn Young

Abstract

This paper simulates the impact of the AIDS epidemic on future living standards in South Africa. I emphasize two competing effects. On the one hand, the epidemic is likely to have a detrimental impact on the human capital accumulation of orphaned children. On the other hand, widespread community infection lowers fertility, both directly, through a reduction in the willingness to engage in unprotected sexual activity, and indirectly, by increasing the scarcity of labour and the value of a woman's time. I find that even with the most pessimistic assumptions concerning reductions in educational attainment, the fertility effect dominates. The AIDS epidemic, on net, enhances the future per capita consumption possibilities of the South African economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Alwyn Young, 2004. "The Gift of the Dying: The Tragedy of AIDS and the Welfare of Future African Generations," NBER Working Papers 10991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10991
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clive Bell & Shantayanan Devarajan & Hans Gersbach, 2003. "The long-run economic costs of AIDS : theory and an application to South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3152, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca, MARCHIORI, 2007. "ChinAfrica : How can the Sino-African cooperation be beneficial for Africa ?," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2007014, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    2. Lars Jonung & Werner Roeger, 2006. "The macroeconomic effects of a pandemic in Europe - A model-based assessment," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 251, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    3. Arndt, Channing, 2006. "HIV/AIDS, human capital, and economic growth prospects for Mozambique," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 477-489, July.
    4. David N. Weil, 2005. "Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 11455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Xanthe Wessels & Nicoli Nattrass & Ulrike Rivett, 2007. "Improving the efficiency of monitoring adherence to antiretroviral therapy at primary health care level: a case study of the introduction of electronic technologies in Guguletu, South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 607-621.
    6. Lammers, J. & Meijdam, A.C. & Verbon, H.A.A., 2007. "HIV/AIDS Contamination Risk, Savings and the Welfare Effects of Diagnostic Testing," Discussion Paper 2007-50, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    7. David Canning, 2006. "The Economics of HIV/AIDS in Low-Income Countries: The Case for Prevention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 121-142, Summer.

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    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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