New research by economics Professor Bruce Wydick shows that international child sponsorship works.
You've seen the TV commercials asking you to sponsor a child
in the developing world, but does the $3 billion spent every year to sponsor
those children do any good? That's the question USF economics Professor Bruce Wydick asked,
and the answer shocked him and other experts.
“It has always been very difficult for donors and nonprofits
to make the case that child sponsorship works. Here we have research that shows
it does,” Wydick said.
He found that sponsored children earned 15 percent higher
incomes, lived in better-constructed homes, and were more likely to be leaders
in their church and community than their non-sponsored siblings. They were also
27 to 40 percent more likely to finish secondary school and 50 to 80 percent
more likely to complete college.
“As a development economist, I am used to seeing very modest
outcomes from aid programs," said Wydick. "But we were amazed at the
size of the impacts on these kids.”
The five-year study is among the most definitive yet in the
longstanding debate over the effectiveness of child sponsorship. The findings
were published in the Journal of Political Economy and attracted international attention,
including coverage by the BBC and other media.
More optimistic and productive
The study was based on interviews with 10,000 adults in six
countries, including those who were and were not sponsored as children and their
families. The interviews were conducted with former clients of Compassion
International, a Christian nonprofit that sponsors children in Bolivia,
Guatemala, India, Kenya, the Philippines, and Uganda, as well as non-clients,
Wydick was the lead researcher on the project, which he
conducted with colleagues Paul Glewwe (University of Minnesota) and Laine
Rurledge (University of Washington).
Wydick’s follow-up studies suggest that sponsored children also
have higher self-esteem, and are more optimistic and productive than non-sponsored
by Ed Carpenter »email firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter @usfcanews