Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The impact of parental death on schooling and subjective wellbeing: Evidence from Ethiopia using longitudinal data

Himaz, Rozana (2009): The impact of parental death on schooling and subjective wellbeing: Evidence from Ethiopia using longitudinal data. Published in: Young Lives Working Paper Series, University of Oxford No. 44 (2009)

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Abstract

This paper investigates whether the death of a parent during middle childhood affects child schooling and subjective well-being (SWB) in Ethiopia. The data comes from two rounds of the Young Lives survey, conducted in 2002 and 2006, of an initial sample of 1000 children across 20 sentinel sites in Ethiopia. The children were 7 to 8 years of age in 2002 and 11 to 12 years of age in 2006, with around 80 losing a parent between rounds. The research finds that the mother dying reduces school enrolment significantly by around 22 per cent. It also increases the chance that a child cannot write at all (even with difficulty) by around 15 per cent, and cannot read at all or can read only letters (rather than words or sentences) by around 27 per cent, compared to if the mother had not died. In contrast, the father dying does not seem to have a consistent impact on the measured outcomes. A child’s gender does not affect the results. These findings have significant policy implications for Ethiopia where parental death has become a very potent shock that children are likely to face in middle childhood.

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