AIDS Treatment and Intrahousehold Resource Allocations: Children's Nutrition and Schooling in Kenya

Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Harsha Thirumurthy, Markus Goldstein

NBER Working Paper No. 12689
Issued in November 2006
NBER Program(s):Children, Health Care, Health Economics

The provision of life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment has emerged as a key component of the global response to HIV/AIDS, but very little is known about the impact of this intervention on the welfare of children in the households of treated persons. We estimate the impact of ARV treatment on children's schooling and nutrition outcomes using longitudinal household survey data collected in collaboration with a treatment program in western Kenya. We find that children's weekly hours of school attendance increase by over 20 percent within six months after treatment is initiated for the adult household member. For boys in treatment households, these increases closely follow their reduced market labor supply. Similarly, young children's short-term nutritional status--as measured by their weight-for-height Z-score--also improves dramatically. We argue that these treatment effects will be considerably larger when compared to the counterfactual scenario of no ARV treatment. The results provide evidence on how intrahousehold resource allocation is altered in response to significant health improvements. Since the improvements in children's schooling and nutrition at these critical early ages will affect their socio-economic outcomes in adulthood, the widespread provision of ARV treatment is likely to generate significant long-run macroeconomic benefits.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12689

Published: Zivin, Joshua Graff & Thirumurthy, Harsha & Goldstein, Markus, 2009. "AIDS treatment and intrahousehold resource allocation: Children's nutrition and schooling in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 1008-1015, August. citation courtesy of

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