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The Economic Consequences for Parents of Losing an Adult Child to AIDS: Evidence from Thailand

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionKnodel, John E., and Wassana Im-em. 2003. "The Economic Consequences for Parents of Losing an Adult Child to AIDS: Evidence from Thailand." PSC Research Report No. 02-504. October 2003.

In this paper we examine the economic consequences for parents of losing an adult child to AIDS in Thailand with emphasis on the effects of parental caregiving. The analysis is based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data derived form several different data collection approaches. Our main findings are as follows. 1) Parents are frequently and substantially involved in the payment of care and treatment costs. But government health insurance and to a less extent welfare helped alleviate the financial burden this created. 2) Parental caregiving often involved disruption of economic activity. But the duration of parental caregiving was not long thus moderating thus the extent of opportunity costs. 3) Parents frequently paid for funeral costs. But membership in funeral societies and customary contributions from those attending often substantially reduces the cost to parents. 4) Far fewer parents are involved in supporting AIDS orphans. But orphaned grandchildren often will end up with grandparents. 5) Most deceased children had contributed financially to the parental household before becoming ill. But only a minority had been main providers. However poor parents were far more likely than better off parents to lose a main provider and for this to create severe financial hardship. 6) Poorer parents spend much less that better off parents on expenses. But the burden created by expenses is far greater for poorer than better off parents. One important implication of these findings is that programs are needed that recognize and address the plight of older persons who lose a child to AIDS but the programs need to take intro account considerable range of vulnerability that exists and target those who are particularly susceptible to resulting economic hardship.

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