The demand for health care often remains weak in developing countries, despite evidence of potentially large returns to health investment. This is particularly relevant for poor people in rural areas, where health risks can be severe, and whose earnings depend primarily on labour intensive agricultural production. Surprisingly little is known about the economic impact of improved access to health care, specifically for agricultural workers. This paper studies the demand for improved access to malaria testing and treatment by providing a specific workplace based insurance against malaria, and studies its impact on worker’s earnings, labour supply and productivity at a large sugarcane plantation in rural Nigeria. Using a lab-in-the field experiment that applies a Becker-De Groot Maarschak approach to exogenously vary prices, the study provides reliable estimates for workers’ willingness to pay for the service provided. Demand is price sensitive with an estimated elasticity of -0.25. Using the exogenously varied price as an instrument, we estimate the causal impact of the malaria insurance on worker earnings, labour supply and productivity. The results indicate that in particular workers with low willingness to pay, benefit considerably from access to the improved health care, as it increases their earnings with roughly 10%, primarily through increases in daily productivity. We further discuss the correlates of demand.
About the speaker
Pieter Serneels is Associate Professor (Reader) in Economics at the University of East Anglia (UEA). His research focuses on human capital, behavioural, labour and personnel economics. In his work he typically combines surveys, randomised control trials and lab-in-the field experiments to shed light on key issues in human development.
Pieter has published widely in academic journals and books, and has given advice to governments and policy makers. He is founding and executive committee member of the Center for Behavioural and Experimental Social Sciences (CBESS), Fellow at the Institute of Labor (IZA), Oxford’s Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), the European Development Network (EUDN) and Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP). Pieter obtained his PhD from the University of Oxford, where he subsequently worked; he previously also worked at the University of Copenhagen, the World Bank and the International Labour Organization.
Venue: Conference room (room 0.16 & 0.17)
Date: 19 January 2017
Time: 12:00 - 13:00