Date of Graduation

Spring 5-7-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International and Development Economics



First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Wydick


Relaxing an internal constraint of an individual at early stages of life is an approach that complements traditional policy interventions aimed to alleviate poverty. The Compassion International child sponsorship program focuses their work on the emotional, social, and spiritual development of sponsored children. This study investigates the impacts of child sponsorship on the quality of life and social behavior of sponsored children using age-eligibility as an instrument for sponsorship, a time preference experiment and a trust game. The study looks specifically at self-esteem, optimism, social trust, educational outcomes, patience and reciprocity of 286 sponsored children and 234 non-sponsored children between the ages of 4 and 23. The study also implements an innovative way of constructing summary indices using a method proposed by Anderson (2008). Results reveal child sponsorship does not have an effect on the quality of life of sponsored children. In fact, sponsored children seem to have less patience and reciprocate less than non-sponsored children. However the exploration of impacts by age shows that the program increases the self-esteem and optimism on sponsored children between the ages of 4 to 14.