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The Impact of Recall Periods on Reported Morbidity and Health Seeking Behavior

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Author Info

  • Jishnu Das

    (World Bank and Center for Policy Research, New Delhi)

  • Jeffrey Hammer

    (Princeton University)

  • Carolina Sánchez-Paramo

    (World Bank)

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    Abstract

    Between 2000 and 2002, we followed 1621 individuals in Delhi, India using a combination of weekly and monthly-recall health questionnaires. In 2008, we augmented these data with another 8 weeks of surveys during which households were experimentally allocated to surveys with different recall periods in the second half of the survey. We show that the length of the recall period had a large impact on reported morbidity, doctor visits; time spent sick; whether at least one day of work/school was lost due to sickness and; the reported use of self-medication. The effects are more pronounced among the poor than the rich. In one example, differential recall effects across income groups reverse the sign of the gradient between doctor visits and per-capita expenditures such that the poor use health care providers more than the rich in the weekly recall surveys but less in monthly recall surveys. We hypothesize that illnesses--especially among the poor--are no longer perceived as "extraordinary events" but have become part of ?normal? life. We discuss the implications of these results for health survey methodology, and the economic interpretation of sickness in poor populations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1320.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:hammer_the_impact_of_recall_periods_on_reported_morbidity_and_health_seeking_behavior

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    Keywords: public health; doctor visits; India; surveys; questionnaires; poor; rich;

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    References

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    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Wealth, health, and health services in rural rajasthan," Framed Field Experiments 00121, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Kenneth L. Leonard & Melkiory C. Masatu & Alexandre Vialou, 2007. "Getting Doctors to Do Their Best: The Roles of Ability and Motivation in Health Care Quality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
    3. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2005. "Money for nothing : the dire straits of medical practice in Delhi, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3669, The World Bank.
    4. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2004. "Which doctor? Combining vignettes and item response to measure doctor quality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3301, The World Bank.
    5. Paqueo, Vicente B. & Gonzalez, Christian Y., 2003. "Economic analysis of health care utilization and perceived illness ; ethnicity and other factors," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3125, The World Bank.
    6. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Health, Nutrition and Economic development," Papers 95-23, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    7. Adam Wagstaff & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2000. "Measuring and Testing for Inequity in the Delivery of Health Care," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 716-733.
    8. Jalan, Jyotsna & Somanathan, E., 2008. "The importance of being informed: Experimental evidence on demand for environmental quality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 14-28, August.
    9. Dow, W & Gertly, P & Schoeni, R-F & Strauss, J & Thomas, D, 1997. "Health Care Prices, Health and Labor Outcomes : Experimental Evidence," Papers 97-01, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    10. Das, Jishnu & Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina, 2003. "Short but not sweet - new evidence on short duration morbidities from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2971, The World Bank.
    11. Kakwani, Nanak & Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1997. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: Measurement, computation, and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 87-103, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ravallion, Martin, 2012. "Can we trust shoestring evaluations ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5983, The World Bank.
    2. Jeffrey Hammer & Dean Spears, 2013. "Village sanitation externalities and children's human capital: Evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government," Working Papers 1443, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    3. Acharya, Arnab & Vellakkal, Sukumar & Taylor Fiona & Masset Edoardo & Satija, Ambika & Burke, Margaret & Ebrahim, Shah, 2013. "The impact of health insurance schemes for the informal sector in low- and middle-income countries : a systematic review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6324, The World Bank.
    4. Raza, W.A. & Panda, P. & Van de Poel, E. & Dror, D.M. & Bedi, A.S., 2013. "Healthcare Seeking Behavior among Self-help Group Households in Rural Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India," ISS Working Papers - General Series 575, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    5. Francesca De Nicola & Xavier Gene, 2012. "How accurate are recall data? Evidence from coastal India," Working Papers id:5010, eSocialSciences.
    6. Kjellsson, Gustav & Clarke, Philip & Gerdtham, Ulf-G, 2013. "Forgetting to Remember or Remembering to Forget - A Study of the Recall Period Length in Health Care Survey Questions," Working Papers 2013:1, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    7. Marcus Böhme & Ruth Persian & Tobias Stoehr, 2013. "Alone but Better Off? Adult Child Migration and Health of Elderly Parents in Moldova," Kiel Working Papers 1876, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    8. Hammer, Jeffrey & Spears, Dean, 2013. "Village sanitation and children's human capital : evidence from a randomized experiment by the Maharashtra government," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6580, The World Bank.
    9. Andres, Luis A. & Briceno, Bertha & Chase, Claire & Echenique, Juan A., 2014. "Sanitation and externalities : evidence from early childhood health in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6737, The World Bank.

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