(When) Are Grandfathers Beneficial for Children’s Schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Sandor Schrijner, Radboud University Nijmegen
Jeroen Smits, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

In recent years several studies have paid attention to the role of grandparents for their grandchildren’s life chances in sub Saharan African (SSA). This is important because in SSA, where overall mortality levels are extremely high, it is a very common situation that children come to live with their grandparents. To gain insight into the importance of grandfathers in the Sub-Saharan African context, we study the relationship between grandfathers’ co-residence and children’s schooling among a broad range of circumstances. Using data on 898,006 children aged 7–15 years old in 33 African countries, we find that children who live with their grandfather have significantly higher odds of being in school than those who do not. This effect increases with the grandfather’s educational level, and is particularly strong for older children, for girls, and when the mother is absent or deceased. Grandfathers seem less important if the grandmother is also co-residing.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 149. Household Resources- Generation, Intra-Household Resource Allocation and Flow Patterns