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Poverty, AIDS, and children's schooling - a targeting dilemma


  • Ainsworth, Martha
  • Filmer, Deon


The authors analyze the relationship between orphan status, household wealth, and child school enrollment using data collected in the 1990s from 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and one country in Southeast Asia. The findings point to considerable diversity-so much so that generalizations are not possible. While there are some examples of large differentials in enrollment by orphan status, in the majority of cases the orphan enrollment gap is dwarfed by the gap between children from richer and poorer households. In some cases, even non-orphaned children from the top of the wealth distribution have low enrollments, pointing to fundamental issues in the supply or demand for schooling that are a constraint to higher enrollments of all children. The gap in enrollment between female and male orphans is not much different than the gap between girls and boys with living parents, suggesting that female orphans are not disproportionately affected in terms of their enrollment in most countries. These diverse findings demonstrate that the extent to which orphans are under-enrolled relative to other children is country-specific, at least in part because the correlation between orphan status and poverty is not consistent across countries. Social protection and schooling policies need to assess the specific country situation before considering mitigation measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Ainsworth, Martha & Filmer, Deon, 2002. "Poverty, AIDS, and children's schooling - a targeting dilemma," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2885, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2885

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nyambedha, Erick Otieno & Wandibba, Simiyu & Aagaard-Hansen, Jens, 2001. "Policy implications of the inadequate support systems for orphans in Western Kenya," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 83-96, October.
    2. Filmer, Deon, 2000. "The structure of social disparities in education : gender and wealth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2268, The World Bank.
    3. World Bank, 2000. "World Development Indicators 2000," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13828, March.
    4. Filmer, Deon*Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
    5. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 1999. "The Effect of Household Wealth on Educational Attainment: Evidence from 35 Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 85-120.
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    1. Aramide Kazeem & Leif Jensen, 2017. "Orphan status, school attendance, and relationship to household head in Nigeria," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(22), pages 659-690, February.
    2. Akresh, Richard, 2004. "Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 1379, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Katja Coneus & Andrea Mühlenweg & Holger Stichnoth, 2014. "Orphans at risk in sub-Saharan Africa: evidence on educational and health outcomes," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 641-662, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Philippe De Vreyer & Björn Nilsson, 2016. "When Solidarity Fails: Heterogeneous Effects of Orphanhood in Senegalese Households," Working Papers DT/2016/17, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    6. 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 619-653, April.
    7. Alexander A. Weinreb & Patrick Gerland & Peter Fleming, 2008. "Hotspots and Coldspots: Household and village-level variation in orphanhood prevalence in rural Malawi," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(32), pages 1217-1248, July.
    8. Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico, 2010. "Multidimensional Measurement of Richness: Theory and an Application to Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4825, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Ng'ondi, Naftali Bernard, 2012. "Socio-demographic and service provision characteristics associated with primary school attendance among the Most Vulnerable Children in Tanzania," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(12), pages 2255-2262.
    10. Miller, Candace Marie & Gruskin, Sofia & Subramanian, S.V. & Heymann, Jody, 2007. "Emerging health disparities in Botswana: Examining the situation of orphans during the AIDS epidemic," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(12), pages 2476-2486, June.
    11. Mather, David & Donovan, Cynthia, 2008. "The Impacts of Prime-Age Adult Mortality on Rural Household Income, Assets, and Poverty in Mozambique," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 56071, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    12. World Bank, 2007. "Zambia : Poverty and Vulnerabiltiy Assessment," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7863, The World Bank.
    13. Christopher Ksoll, 2007. "Family Networks and Orphan Caretaking in Tanzania," Economics Series Working Papers 361, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    14. Serra, Renata, 2009. "Child fostering in Africa: When labor and schooling motives may coexist," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 157-170, January.
    15. T. Paul Schultz, 2004. "Evidence of Returns to Schooling in Africa from Household Surveys: Monitoring and Restructuring the Market for Education," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 13(02), pages 95-148, December.
    16. Asiamah, Selloane & Kraybill, David S. & Thompson, Stanley R., 2005. "Does Orphan Status Affect Primary School Attendance? An Analysis of Household Survey Data from Uganda," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19489, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    17. Nyamukapa, Constance & Gregson, Simon, 2005. "Extended family's and women's roles in safeguarding orphans' education in AIDS-afflicted rural Zimbabwe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(10), pages 2155-2167, May.
    18. 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.
    19. de Walque, Damien, 2005. "Parental education and children's schooling outcomes : is the effect nature, nurture, or both? evidence from recomposed families in Rwanda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3483, The World Bank.
    20. Megan Louw, 2003. "Orphans of the HIV/Aids epidemic: An impending crisis for South African development," Working Papers 01/2003, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    21. Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "On the contribution of demographic change to aggregate poverty measures for the developing world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3580, The World Bank.


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