JICA Ogata Research Institute



Do Orphaned Girls Spend More Time on Water Collection? Evidence From Rural Zambia

Orphanhood has long-term adverse effects on human capital formation but its short-run effects are mixed. We examine the short-run effect of improved access to safe water on orphans’ outcomes in rural Zambia. We utilize a unique dataset collected in a quasi-experimental setting from a groundwater development project and employ a difference-in-differences approach. We do not detect any immediate effect from new water access on health and educational outcomes. However, we observe a larger increase in time spent on water collection and water-related household chores for orphaned girls than for non-orphans living with their biological mothers. We conclude that orphaned girls are disadvantaged in that they are more responsible for collecting water and related household chores under improved access to safe water, although the availability of safe water per se benefits the whole population.

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