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Mixed Method Evaluation of a Passive mHealth Sexual Information Testing Service in Uganda

Author

Listed:
  • Julian Jamison

    () (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, D.C.)

  • Dean Karlan

    () (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Pia Raffler

    () (Department of Political Science, Yale University)

Abstract

We evaluate the impact of a health information intervention implemented through mobile phones, using a clustered randomized control trial augmented by qualitative interviews. The intervention aimed to improve sexual health knowledge and shift individuals towards safer sexual behavior by providing reliable information about sexual health. The novel technology designed by Google and Grameen Technology Center provided automated searches of an advice database on topics requested by users via SMS. It was offered by MTN Uganda at no cost to users. Quantitative survey results allow us to reject the hypothesis that improving access to information would increase knowledge and shift behavior to less risky sexual activities. In fact, we find that the service led to an increase in promiscuity, and no shift in perception of norms. Qualitative focus groups discussions support the findings of the quantitative survey results. We conclude by discussing a potential mechanism explaining the counterintuitive findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Julian Jamison & Dean Karlan & Pia Raffler, 2013. "Mixed Method Evaluation of a Passive mHealth Sexual Information Testing Service in Uganda," Working Papers 1025, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1025
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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp1025.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2012. "List randomization for sensitive behavior: An application for measuring use of loan proceeds," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 71-75.
    2. Corstange, Daniel, 2009. "Sensitive Questions, Truthful Answers? Modeling the List Experiment with LISTIT," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(01), pages 45-63, December.
    3. Alberto Chong & Marco Gonzalez-Navarro & Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2013. "Do Information Technologies Improve Teenagers’ Sexual Education? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 18776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-232, Summer.
    5. Pascaline Dupas, 2011. "Do Teenagers Respond to HIV Risk Information? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-34, January.
    6. Robert Jensen, 2007. "The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), Market Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 879-924.
    7. Patricia N. Mechael, 2009. "The Case for mHealth in Developing Countries," Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 103-118, January.
    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. Gallant, Melanie & Maticka-Tyndale, Eleanor, 2004. "School-based HIV prevention programmes for African youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(7), pages 1337-1351, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Blattman, Christopher & Jamison, Julian & Koroknay-Palicz, Tricia & Rodrigues, Katherine & Sheridan, Margaret, 2016. "Measuring the measurement error: A method to qualitatively validate survey data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 99-112.
    2. Bamberger, Michael & Tarsilla, Michele & Hesse-Biber, Sharlene, 2016. "Why so many “rigorous” evaluations fail to identify unintended consequences of development programs: How mixed methods can contribute," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 155-162.
    3. repec:dgr:rugsom:14017-eef is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:151-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. De Cao, Elisabetta & Lutz, Clemens, 2014. "Sensitive survey questions," Research Report 14017-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    6. Evan Borkum & Anitha Sivasankaran & Swetha Sridharan & Dana Rotz & Sukhmani Sethi & Mercy Manoranjini & Lakshmi Ramakrishnan & Anu Rangarajan, 2015. "Evaluation of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Continuum of Care Services (CCS) Intervention in Bihar," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 2e2826deedb94ee18890653d8, Mathematica Policy Research.
    7. Juliane Zenker & Andreas Wagener & Sebastian Vollmer, 2014. "Better Knowledge Need Not Affect Behavior; A Randomized Evaluation on the Demand for Lottery Tickets in Rural Thailand," CID Working Papers 282, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    8. Pascaline Dupas & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Impacts and Determinants of Health Levels in Low-Income Countries," NBER Working Papers 22235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    information technology for development; mhealth; ICT4D; sexual health;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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