Idle Chatter or Learning? Evidence from Rural Tanzania of Social Learning about Clinicians and the Health System
We examine data from rural Arusha region in Tanzania in which households are asked to recall the illness episodes of randomly chosen other households in their village. We analyze the probability that a household would be able to recall another illness episode as a function of the characteristics of the illness, the location and type of health care chosen and the outcome experienced. Households are more likely to recall severe illnesses and illnesses for which good quality care is important, illnesses that resulted in visits to hospitals or when the patient was not cured. In addition, households are more likely to recall illnesses that resulted in a visit to a facility where the average tenure of clinicians is less than two years old. The results are consistent with a model in which households deliberately collect information in order to learn about clinicians and facilities in their local area.
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