The Effects of Parental Death and Chronic Poverty on Children’s Education and Health: Evidence from Indonesia

Poverty and Inequality

What are the impacts of of parental death and chronic poverty on children’s education and health in Indonesia? This paper estimates the short- and long-term effects of maternal and paternal death on children’s school enrolment, educational attainment and health in Indonesia, and compare it with the effect of chronic poverty.  The authors also investigate whether there are any gender dimensions of the effects.


  • young maternal orphans in Indonesia have worse educational outcomes compared with non-orphans, with the effect getting worse over time
  • no significant health effects of orphanhood were found
  • chronically poor children have worse health and education outcomes
  • among young children, the adverse effect of maternal orphanhood on education is significantly worse than that of chronic poverty
  • chronically poor orphans do not suffer adverse effects beyond the effects of chronic poverty
  • the authors did not find gender differences in the effect of orphanhood on children in Indonesia.

The paper argues that these findings imply that the government should focus on helping chronically poor households to invest in their human capital.

Authors: D. Suryadarma; Y. M. Pakpahan; A. Suryahadi; SMERU Research Institute
Publisher: Chronic Poverty Research Centre, UK, 2009

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