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Addressing Absence

  • Abhijit Banerjee
  • Esther Duflo

Absent providers are a major problem both for public health facilities and primary schools in many developing countries. For example, in India, absence rates for teachers are over 24 percent, and for health providers they are over 40 percent. This paper presents evidence on a number of innovative strategies to reduce absenteeism in government- and nongovernmental organization-run schools and health facilities. These strategies were implemented in Kenya and India over the past few years and have been evaluated using the randomized evaluation methodology. The strategies involved alternative levers to fight absence. Some tried to improve incentives for providers, either through rewards and punishments implemented by external monitors, or through facilitating a more active involvement of those who expect to benefit from the service. Others are based on the idea that the providers are discouraged by the lack of interest among the potential beneficiaries in what they are being offered; these strategies aim at increasing the demand for the services as a way of putting more pressure on the providers. The results of these efforts, taken together, shed light not only on ways to address the problem of absence in the public sector, but also on the underlying reasons for this phenomenon.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533006776526139
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 20 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 117-132

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:20:y:2006:i:1:p:117-132
Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533006776526139
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Wealth, Health, and Health Services in Rural Rajasthan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 326-330, May.
  2. Esther Duflo & Rema Hanna, 2005. "Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to School," NBER Working Papers 11880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul Glewwe & Nauman Ilias & Michael Kremer, 2003. "Teacher Incentives," NBER Working Papers 9671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kremer, Michael Robert & Miguel, Edward A., 2004. "The Illusion of Sustainability," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt94p8w1d7, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Health care delivery in rural rajasthan," Framed Field Experiments 00120, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Jimenez, Emmanuel & Sawada, Yasuyuki, 1999. "Do Community-Managed Schools Work? An Evaluation of El Salvador's EDUCO Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(3), pages 415-41, September.
  7. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "The illusion of sustainability," Natural Field Experiments 00287, The Field Experiments Website.
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