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Can information increase the understanding and uptake of insurance? Lessons from a randomized experiment in rural Burkina Faso


  • Bocoum, Fadima
  • Grimm, Michael
  • Hartwig, Renate
  • Zongo, Nathalie


Community Based Health Insurance Schemes are often confronted to very low uptake. We analyze the impact of a randomized information package on the understanding and adoption of Community Based Health Insurance in Burkina Faso. The sample consists of about 2000 households in the rural community of Ziniaré which we interviewed several times between 2013 and 2016. In contrast to previous studies in the literature, we assess the effects of an intensive information intervention combining tools and repeated interaction instead of only a single event of information provisioning. The information package combines three tools to present different types of information - a brochure presenting factual information, a video presenting a hypothetical health episode and a personalized phone call reminder. The brochure and video are delivered through home visits by specially trained agents. Despite the repeated interaction and the comprehensiveness of the information package, we find only modest improvements in the understanding of insurance principles following our intervention. Investigating treatment heterogeneity, we observe an increase in understanding in poorer households and in households with literate heads. Given the small improvements in insurance knowledge we do not see a significant effect on insurance uptake either. We conclude that information is not enough to increase insurance uptake and discuss the role of other factors that might matter including the political context in which our experiment was implemented.

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  • Bocoum, Fadima & Grimm, Michael & Hartwig, Renate & Zongo, Nathalie, 2019. "Can information increase the understanding and uptake of insurance? Lessons from a randomized experiment in rural Burkina Faso," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 220(C), pages 102-111.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:220:y:2019:i:c:p:102-111
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.10.029

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    References listed on IDEAS

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