The authors study how healthcare subsidies and improved information affect over- and under-use of primary healthcare in a randomized control trial of 1544 children in Mali. In a dynamic model of healthcare demand, misuse relative to policymaker preferences (here given by WHO care-seeking standards) arises from seeking care too early or too late during an illness spell. Using 9 weeks of daily data, they show that the barrier to optimal care seeking is cost, not information: subsidies increase demand by over 250%, but overuse is rare with or without the subsidy. Information, contrary to intent, appears to increase underuse, as their model predicts.
This work is part of the ‘Determinants of Health Care Decisions: Children’s Health in Mali’ project supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Department for International Development.
Sautmann, Anja and Brown, Samuel and Dean, Mark R. W., Subsidies, Information, and the Timing of Children’s Health Care in Mali (August 23, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6057. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2851399
Subsidies, Information, and the Timing of Children’s Health Care in Mali
Published 12 October 2016