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Exploiting subjective information to understand impoverished children's use of health care

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  • Álvarez, Begoña
  • Vera-Hernández, Marcos

Abstract

Understanding what drives households to seek medical services is challenging because the factors affecting the perceived benefits and costs of professional health care can be the same. In this paper, we disentangle the channels through which different factors affect the use of medical services, whether through perceived benefits and/or costs. We do this by exploiting data on why individuals have not visited a health care professional. Amongst a sample of impoverished Colombian households, we find that health knowledge reduces the use of medical services through decreasing mothers’ perceived benefits of seeking professional care for ill children; birth parity, distance to health facilities and violent shocks all decrease medical care use due to increasing the perceived costs; and education decreases both the perceived benefits and costs, with no overall effect on use. We propose two specification tests, both of which our model passes, as well as a series of robustness checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Álvarez, Begoña & Vera-Hernández, Marcos, 2013. "Exploiting subjective information to understand impoverished children's use of health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1194-1204.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:6:p:1194-1204 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2013.09.008
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    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:35-55 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Identification; Subjective information; Health care use; Child health; Developing country;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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