Lasting welfare effects of widowhood in a poor country
Little is known about the situation facing widows and their dependent children in West Africa especially after the widow remarries. Women in Malian society are vulnerable to the loss of husbands especially in rural areas. Households headed by widows have significantly lower living standards on average than male or other female headed households in both rural and urban areas; this holds both unconditionally and conditional on observable household and individual characteristics including age. Furthermore, the adverse welfare effects of widowhood appear to persist even after widows are absorbed into male headed households. An examination of individual measures of well-being further reveals that, relative to other women, worse outcomes for ever-widowed women persist through remarriage. These detrimental effects are passed on to children, indicating an intergenerational transmission of poverty stemming from widowhood.
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