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Requiescat in Pace? The Consequences of High Priced Funerals in South Africa

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  • Anne Case
  • Alicia Menendez

Abstract

We examine the costs associated with funerals and the effects of funeral spending on household functioning, using data collected in the Agincourt Demographic Surveillance Site in South Africa. We find that large outlays of money at the time of the funeral leave households vulnerable to future hardship. Households that buried a member report lower spending per person, poorer adult affect, and lower rates of school enrollment for children than do other households. We present evidence consistent with the financial burden associated with a funeral having direct, adverse effects on households.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Case & Alicia Menendez, 2009. "Requiescat in Pace? The Consequences of High Priced Funerals in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 14998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14998
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2008. "How High Are Rates of Return to Fertilizer? Evidence from Field Experiments in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 482-488, May.
    2. Anne Case & Anu Garrib & Alicia Menendez & Analia Olgiati, 2013. "Paying the Piper: The High Cost of Funerals in South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(1), pages 1-20.
    3. Veni Naidu & Geoff Harris, 2005. "The Impact Of Hiv/Aids Morbidity And Mortality On Households - A Review Of Household Studies," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(s1), pages 533-544, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Canofari Paolo & Marini Giancarlo & Scaramozzino Pasquale, 2014. "To sleep, perchance to dream: Prices for burial spaces in US states," wp.comunite 0114, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
    2. Jonathan Robinson & Ethan Yeh, 2012. "Risk-Coping through Sexual Networks: Evidence from Client Transfers in Kenya," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 107-145.
    3. Paolo Canofari & Giancarlo Marini & Pasquale Scaramozzino, 2013. "To Sleep, Perchance to Dream: Prices for Funeral Homes in US States," CEIS Research Paper 260, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 11 Jan 2013.
    4. repec:eee:ecmode:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:638-645 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ardington, Cally & Bärnighausen, Till & Case, Anne & Menendez, Alicia, 2014. "The economic consequences of AIDS mortality in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 48-60.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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