Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso

39 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2004

See all articles by Richard Akresh

Richard Akresh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: November 2004


Researchers claim that children growing up away from their biological parents may be at a disadvantage and have lower human capital investment. This paper measures the impact of child fostering on school enrollment and uses household and child fixed effects regressions to address the endogeneity of fostering. Data collection by the author involved tracking and interviewing the sending and receiving household participating in each fostering exchange, allowing a comparison of foster children with their non-fostered biological siblings. Foster children are equally likely as their host siblings to be enrolled after fostering and are 3.6 percent more likely to be enrolled than their biological siblings. Relative to children from non-fostering households, host siblings, biological siblings, and foster children all experience increased enrollment after the fostering exchange, indicating fostering may help insulate poor households from adverse shocks. This Pareto improvement in schooling translates into a long-run improvement in educational and occupational attainment.

Keywords: human capital investment, child fostering, household structure

JEL Classification: J12, I20, O15, D10

Suggested Citation

Akresh, Richard, Adjusting Household Structure: School Enrollment Impacts of Child Fostering in Burkina Faso (November 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Richard Akresh (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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