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Putting a Band-Aid on a Corpse: Incentives for Nurses in the Indian Public Health Care System

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  • Abhijit V. Banerjee
  • Esther Duflo
  • Rachel Glennerster

Abstract

The public Indian health care system is plagued by high staff absence, low effort by providers, and limited use by potential beneficiaries who prefer private alternatives. This artice reports the results of an experiment carried out with a district administration and a nongovernmental organization (NGO). The presence of government nurses in government public health facilities (subcenters and aid-posts) was recorded by the NGO, and the government took steps to punish the worst delinquents. Initially, the monitoring system was extremely effective. This shows that nurses are responsive to financial incentives. But after a few months, the local health administration appears to have undermined the scheme from the inside by letting the nurses claim an increasing number of "exempt days." Eighteen months after its inception, the program had become completely ineffective. (JEL: D10, I10, J30) (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 6 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 487-500

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:6:y:2008:i:2-3:p:487-500

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Cited by:
  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Sendhil Mullainathan & Rema Hanna, 2012. "Corruption," NBER Working Papers 17968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Banerjee, Abhijit & Hanna, Rema & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2012. "Corruption," Working Paper Series rwp12-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    • Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2012. "Corruption," Working Papers id:4952, eSocialSciences.
  2. Singh, Nirvikar, 2008. "Decentralization and Public Delivery of Health Care Services in India," MPRA Paper 7869, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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