Economic aspects of child fostering in Cote d'Ivoire

Type Journal Article - Living standards measurement study (LSMS) working paper
Title Economic aspects of child fostering in Cote d'Ivoire
Issue LSM92
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1992
This paper examines the economic determinants of child fostering decisions in Cote d'Ivoire, where in 1985, one fifth of non-orphaned children age 7-14 were living away from both natural parents. The economic determinants of both sending and receiving decisions are examined separately and evaluated with respect to their support for child labor and human capital explanations. The determinants for both sides of the fostering market are then estimated simultaneously so that the symmetry of fostering determinants can be formally tested. The results indicate that important economic factors affect fostering decisions on both sides of the fostering market; however, different factors explain sending and receiving decisions. The economic determinants also vary by the sex of the child and whether the household is in an urban or rural area. The findings are consistent with a child labor explanation and inconclusive with respect to schooling investments as a motive. Although the number of children fostered out increases with family size, the paper finds no evidence that children are fostered out because parents cannot afford them. The symmetry of fostering decisions could not be rejected; nevertheless, in all regressions the significant determinants of the sending and receiving decisions are different.

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