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HIV/AIDS and time allocation in rural Malawi

Keywords: Africa , AIDS/HIV , economic impact , Malawi , time allocation

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Abstract:

AIDS morbidity and mortality are expected to have a large impact on households' labor supply in rural Malawi since they reduce the time that adults can spend on production for subsistence and on income generating activities. However, the data demands for estimating this impact are high, limiting the amount of empirical evidence. In this paper, we utilize a unique combination of quantitative and qualitative data, including biomarkers for HIV, collected by the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project, to analyze the impact of AIDS-related morbidity and mortality on time allocation decisions for rural Malawians. We evaluate both the direct effect of HIV/AIDS on the time allocation of affected individuals as well as its indirect effect on the time allocation of surviving household members. We find that the latter is the most important effect of AIDS-related morbidity and mortality, especially on women's time. Specifically, AIDS induces diversification of income sources, with women reallocating their time from work-intensive (typically farming and heavy chores) to cash-generating tasks (such as casual labor).

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