Left Behind: Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital in the Midst of HIV/AIDS

Journal of Population Economics (Impact Factor: 0.92). 01/2010; 26(5166). DOI: 10.1007/s00148-012-0439-3
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT This paper provides evidence on how adverse health conditions affect the transfer of human capital from one generation to the next. We explore the differential exposure to HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa as a substantial health shock to both household and community environment. We utilize the recent rounds of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) for 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that provide information on mother’s HIV status and enable us to link mothers and their children. The data also allow us to distinguish between two separate channels that are likely to differentially affect the intergenerational transfers: mother’s HIV status and community HIV prevalence. First, we find that mothers transfer 37% of their human capital to their children in the developing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Second, our results show that mother's HIV status has large detrimental effect on inheritability of human capital. HIV-infected mothers are 30% less likely to transfer their human capital to their children. Finally, focusing only on non-infected mothers and their children, we find that HIV prevalence in the community also significantly impairs the intergenerational human capital transfers even if mother is HIV negative. The findings of this paper is particularly distressing for these already poor, HIV-torn countries as in the future they will have even lower overall level of human capital due to the epidemic.

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    ABSTRACT: Uganda was widely viewed as a public health success for curtailing its AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s. To understand the reasons for the dramatic decline, we build a simulation model of HIV transmission using newly discovered data on HIV status and sexual behavior from the relevant time period. We then model the impact of abstinence, fidelity, condom use and selective mortality on the prevalence of HIV among various subgroups. Among young women, who experienced the greatest decline in HIV prevalence, the most important component was delaying sexual debut, accounting for 57 percent of the drop in HIV prevalence. Condom use by high risk males and to a lesser extent death (of older males) also played a significant role, accounting for 30 and 16 percent respectively. However, for older women, the trend is reversed, with death being more important than abstinence or condom usage. All told, we explain 86 percent of the reduction in AIDS in Uganda.
    Journal of Population Economics 01/2009; DOI:10.1007/s00148-012-0456-2 · 0.92 Impact Factor

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