, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 163–180 | Cite as

Orphanhood and human capital destruction: Is there persistence into adulthood?

  • Kathleen Beegle
  • Joachim De Weerdt
  • Stefan Dercon


This article presents unique evidence that orphanhood matters in the long run for health and education outcomes in a region of northwestern Tanzania. We study a sample of 718 non-orphaned children surveyed in 1991–1994 who were traced and reinterviewed as adults in 2004. A large proportion, 19%, lost one or more parents before age 15 in this period, allowing us to assess permanent health and education impacts of orphanhood. In the analysis, we control for a wide range of child and adult characteristics before orphanhood, as well as community fixed effects. We find that maternal orphanhood has a permanent adverse impact of 2 cm of final height attainment and one year of educational attainment. Expressing welfare in terms of consumption expenditure, the result is a gap of 8.5% compared with similar children whose mothers survived until at least their 15th birthday.


Ordinary Little Square Maternal Death Consumption Expenditure Average Treatment Effect Education Outcome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ainsworth, M., K. Beegle, and G. Koda. 2005. “The Impact of Adult Mortality and Parental Deaths on Schooling in Northwestern Tanzania.” Journal of Development Studies 41: 412–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ainsworth, M. and D. Filmer. 2006. “Inequalities in Children’s Schooling: AIDS, Orphanhood, Poverty, and Gender.” World Development 34: 1099–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ainsworth, M. and I. Semali. 2000. “The Impact of Adult Deaths on Children’s Health in Northwestern Tanzania.” Policy Research Working Paper 2266, Development Research Group. The World Bank, Washington, DC.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alderman, H., J.R. Berman, H.-P. Kohler, J.A. Maluccio, and S.C. Watkins. 2001. “Attrition in Longitudinal Household Survey Data: Some Tests for Three Developing-Country Samples.” Demographic Research 5(4). Available online at Scholar
  5. Becketti, S., W. Gould, L. Lillard, and F. Welch. 1988. “The Panel Study of Income Dynamics After Fourteen Years: An Evaluation.” Journal of Labor Economics 6: 472–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beegle, K., R. Deheija, and R. Gatti. 2006. “Child Labor and Agricultural Shocks.” Journal of Development Economics 81: 80–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beegle, K., J. De Weerdt, and S. Dercon. 2006a. “Kagera Health and Development Survey (KHDS), 2004, Basic Information Document.” Document. World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  8. —. 2006b. “Orphanhood and the Long-Run Impact on Children.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 88: 1266–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bell, C., S. Devarajan, and H. Gersbach. 2006. “The Long-run Economic Costs of AIDS: With an Application to South Africa.” World Bank Economic Review 20: 55–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bennell, P. 2005. “The Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on the Schooling of Orphans and Other Directly Affected Children in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Journal of Development Studies 41: 467–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bhargava, A. 2005. “AIDS Epidemic and the Psychological Well-being and School Participation of Ethiopian Orphans.” Psychology, Health and Medicine 10: 263–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bicego, G., S. Rutstein, and K. Johnson. 2003. “Dimensions of the Emerging Orphan Crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Social Science and Medicine 56: 1235–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Case, A. and C. Ardington. 2006. “The Impact of Parental Death on School Outcomes: Longitudinal Evidence From South Africa.” Demography 43: 402–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Case, A., C. Paxson, and J.H. Ableidinger. 2004. “Orphans in Africa: Parental Death, Poverty and School Enrollment.” Demography 41: 483–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 2000. “Cause-Specific Adult Mortality: Evidence From Community-Based Surveillance—Selected Sites, Tanzania 1992–1998.” Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report 49: 416–19.Google Scholar
  16. Chatterji, M., L. Dougherty, T. Ventimiglia, Y. Mulenga, A. Jones, A. Mukaneza, N. Murray, K. Buek, W. Winfrey, and J. Amon. 2005. “The Well-being of Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in Lusaka, Zambia, and Gitarama Province, Rwanda: Findings From a Study.” Community REACH Working Paper No. 2. Community REACH Program, Pact, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  17. Corrigan, P., G. Glomm, and F. Mendez. 2005. “AIDS Crisis and Growth.” Journal of Development Economics 77: 107–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Crampin, A.C., S. Floyd, J.R. Glynn, N. Madise, A. Nyondo, M.M. Khondowe, C.L. Njoka, H. Kanyongoloka, B. Ngwira, B. Zaba, and P.E. Fine. 2003. “The Long-term Impact of HIV and Orphanhood on the Mortality and Physical Well-being of Children in Rural Malawi.” AIDS 17: 389–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Crump, R., J. Holtz, G. Imbens, and O. Mitnik. 2006. “Moving the Goalposts: Addressing Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects by Changing the Estimand.” NBER Technical Working Paper No. 330. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  20. Davis, R., J. Apley, G. Fill, and C. Grimaldi. 1978. “Diet and Retarded Growth.” British Medical Journal 1: 539–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Deaton, A. and S. Zaidi. 2002. “Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis.” Living Standards Measurement Study Working Paper 135. The World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  22. Deininger, K., M. Garcia, and K. Subbarao. 2003. “AIDS-Induced Orphanhood as a Systemic Shock: Magnitude, Impact, and Program Interventions in Africa.” World Development 31: 1201–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Evans, D. and E. Miguel. 2007. “Orphans and Schooling in Africa: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Demography 44: 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fitzgerald, J., P. Gottschalk, and R. Moffitt. 1998. “An Analysis of Sample Attrition in Panel Data.” Journal of Human Resources 33: 251–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gertler, P., D. Levine, and M. Ames. 2004. “Schooling and Parental Death.” Review of Economics and Statistics 86(1): 211–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Glewwe, P., H. Jacoby, and E. King. 2001. “Early Childhood Nutrition and Academic Achievement: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Journal of Public Economics 81: 345–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Golden, M.H.N. 1994. “Is Complete Catch-up Possible for Stunted Malnourished Children?” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 48(Suppl. 1): S58-S70.Google Scholar
  28. Haddad, L. and H. Bouis. 1991. “The Impact of Nutritional Status on Agricultural Productivity: Wage Evidence From the Philippines.” Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 53: 45–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hargreaves, J.R. and J.R. Glynn. 2002. “Educational Attainment and HIV-1 Infection in Developing Countries: A Systematic Review.” Tropical Medicine and International Health 7: 489–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hirano, K. and G. Imbens. 2001. “Estimation of Causal Effects Using Propensity Score Weighting: An Application to Data on Right Heart Catheterization.” Health Services and Outcomes Research and Methodology 2: 259–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hirano, K., G. Imbens, and G. Ridder. 2003. “Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score.” Econometrica 71: 1161–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Killewo, J.Z.J., K. Nyamuryekunge, A. Sandstrom, U. Bredberg-Raden, S. Wall, F. Mhalu, and G. Biberfeld. 1990. “Prevalence of HIV-1 Infection in the Kagera Region of Tanzania: A Population-Based Study.” Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 4: 1081–85.Google Scholar
  33. Killewo, J.Z.J., A. Sandstrom, U. Bredberg-Raden, F. Mhalu, G. Biberfeld, and S. Wall. 1993. “Incidence of HIV-1 Infection Among Adults in the Kagera Region of Tanzania.” International Journal of Epidemiology 22: 528–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ksoll, C. 2007. “Family Networks and Orphan Caretaking in Tanzania.” University of Oxford Economics Working Paper Series 361. Department of Economics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  35. Kwesigabo, G., J. Killewo, W. Urassa, J. Lugalla, M. Emmelin, A. Mutembei, F. Mhalu, G. Biberfeld, S. Wall, and A. Sandstrom. 2005. “HIV-1 Infection Prevalence and Incidence Trends in Areas of Contrasting Levels of Infection in the Kagera Region, Tanzania, 1987–2000.” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 40: 585–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lindblade, K., F. Odhiambo, D. Rosen, and K. DeCock. 2003. “Health and Nutritional Status of Orphans < 6 Years Old Cared for by Relatives in Western Kenya.” Tropical Medicine and International Health 8(1): 67–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Martorell, R. 1999. “The Nature of Child Malnutrition and Its Long-term Implications.” Food and Nutrition 125(Suppl.): 1127S-38S.Google Scholar
  38. Modan-Moses, D., A. Yaroslavsky, I. Novikov, S. Segev, A. Toledano, E. Miterany, and D. Stein. 2003. “Stunting of Growth as a Major Feature of Anorexia Nervosa in Male Adolescents.” Pediatrics 111: 270–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Monasch, R. and J.T. Boerma. 2004. “Orphanhood and Childcare Patterns in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Analysis of National Surveys From 40 Countries.” AIDS 18(Suppl. 2): S55-S65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nyamukapa, C. and S. Gregson. 2005. “Extended Family’s and Women’s Roles in Safeguarding Orphans’ Education in AIDS-Afflicted Rural Zimbabwe.” Social Science and Medicine 60: 2155–67.Google Scholar
  41. Pugliese, M., F. Lifshitz, G. Grad, P. Fort, and M. Mark-Katz. 1983. “Fear of Obesity. A Cause of Short Stature and Delayed Puberty.” New England Journal of Medicine 309: 513–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Söderbom, M., F. Teal, A. Wambugu, and G. Kahyarara. 2006. “The Dynamics of Returns to Education in Kenyan and Tanzania Manufacturing.” Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics 68: 261–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stock, J. and M. Yogo. 2005. “Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression.” Pp. 80–108 in Identification and Inference for Econometric Models, edited by D.W.K. Andrews. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Thomas, D. and J. Strauss. 1997. “Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil.” Journal of Econometrics 77: 159–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. UNAIDS. 2004. “Children on the Brink 2004A Joint Report of New Orphan Estimates and a Framework for Action.” UNAIDS, New York.Google Scholar
  46. World Bank. 2004. “User’s Guide to the Kagera Health and Development Survey Datasets.” Document. World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  47. Yamano, T. and T.S. Jayne. 2005. “Working-Age Adult Mortality and Primary School Attendance in Rural Kenya.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 53: 619–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yamano, T., Y. Shimamura, and D. Sserunkuuma. 2006. “Living Arrangements and Schooling of Orphaned Children and Adolescents in Uganda.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 54: 833–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Beegle
    • 1
  • Joachim De Weerdt
    • 2
  • Stefan Dercon
    • 3
  1. 1.World BankWashington DC
  2. 2.Economic Development InitiativesTanzania
  3. 3.Department of International DevelopmentOxford UniversityUK

Personalised recommendations