NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Requiescat in Pace? The Consequences of High Priced Funerals in South Africa

Anne Case, Alicia Menendez

NBER Working Paper No. 14998
Issued in May 2009
NBER Program(s):   AG

We examine the costs associated with funerals and the effects of funeral spending on household functioning, using data collected in the Agincourt Demographic Surveillance Site in South Africa. We find that large outlays of money at the time of the funeral leave households vulnerable to future hardship. Households that buried a member report lower spending per person, poorer adult affect, and lower rates of school enrollment for children than do other households. We present evidence consistent with the financial burden associated with a funeral having direct, adverse effects on households.

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Published: A. Case and A. Menendez Requiescat in Pace? The Consequences of High Priced Funerals in South Africa Chaper 11 in Explorations of Aging, David Wise (ed.), University of Chicago Press (2011)

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