Research Shows That Compassion Works

In 2008, Dr. Bruce Wydick, a development economist, began studying the effects of child sponsorship. With more than 90 million children sponsored through dozens of child sponsorship organizations, Wydick was surprised that his research was the first of its kind.

Research Shows That Compassion Works
Research Shows That Compassion Works

In 2008, Dr. Bruce Wydick, a development economist, began studying the effects of child sponsorship. With more than 90 million children sponsored through dozens of child sponsorship organizations, Wydick was surprised that his research was the first of its kind.

Wydick, along with two colleagues, set out to explore the effectiveness of international child sponsorship. In a recent article in Christianity Today, Wydick talks extensively about the results of this groundbreaking study, in which he and his team studied Compassion’s child sponsorship program:

“‘This is … amazing,’ was all I could mumble. We tried slicing the data different ways, but each showed significant educational improvements. You could beat this data senseless, and it was incapable of showing anything other than extremely large and statistically significant impacts on educational outcomes for sponsored children.”

The article goes on to explain that the results were about far more than education:

“We found that child sponsorship means that when the child grows up, he is 14–18 percent more likely to obtain a salaried job, and 35 percent more likely to obtain a white-collar job. Many of the Compassion-sponsored children become teachers as adults instead of remaining jobless or working in menial agricultural labor. We found some evidence that they are more likely to grow up to be both community leaders and church leaders.”

Wydick speaks extensively about the impact of sponsorship on children in poverty — and about the role that hope plays in Compassion’s work.

“In each of the studies, we found that sponsored children consistently had significantly higher expectations for their own schooling than unsponsored children, even when controlling for family and other factors. They also generally had higher expectations for adult employment…Many of these findings came close to mirroring the adult differences we measured between formerly sponsored children and nonsponsored children.”

Read the full article from Christianity Today. And to see video interviews with Wydick and students who are living examples of his study, visit Compassion’s own Wydick Research site.