Requiescat in Pace?

Edited by Anne Case and Alicia Menendez

in Explorations in the Economics of Aging

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780226903378
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226903385 | DOI:
Requiescat in Pace?

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This chapter highlights the substantial fraction of a household's economic resources that are expended on funerals in South Africa, and the implications of this spending for economic well-being. Funerals in South Africa are generally considered an individual's most important rite of passage. As a result, they tend to be more elaborate and expensive than weddings, graduations, or naming ceremonies for children. Households may spend the equivalent of a year's income for an adult's funeral, borrowing from money lenders if need be to have a funeral that befits the status of the household and of the person who died. The chapter is an attempt to quantify these costs, and to analyze their impact on the circumstances and functioning of the household.

Keywords: funerals; social norms; Agincourt Demographic Surveillance Site; University of the Witwatersrand; Mozambique; South Africa; household economy

Chapter.  9605 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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