IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Demand for Outpatient Medical Care in Rural Kenya

Listed author(s):
  • Randall P. Ellis
  • Germano M. Mwabu

This paper develops a new specification of the demand for outpatient medical care and then estimates the model using data from a household survey conducted in rural Kenya in 1989. A four-stage nested logit model is used with a variable number of choices at several nodes. The first stage modeled is the choice of whether or not to report an illness, while the second is the probability of seeking treatment conditional on a positive report of illness. In contrast with the previous literature, the first two stages are modeled separately rather than as a single decision to seek treatment. The third stage, the individual's choice of a particular provider, is modeled as depending upon individual and household characteristics, as well as characteristics of specific health facilities from which choices are made. The fourth stage modeled is the choice of a mode of transport to the health facility (walking or taking the bus), an endogenous choice variable that greatly affects the total cost of seeking treatment. The previous empirical literature has not attempted to separate out the probability of reporting an illness from the probability of seeking treatment, and hence has estimated only the combined effect of variables such as income on the illness and the decision to seek treatment. This study finds that income and wealth variables are negatively related to reporting an illness, but positively related to deciding to seek treatment. Most of the demographic variables seem to influence the probability of reporting an illness rather than the decision to seek treatment. This finding is significant because if the results from one setting are applied to others, it is important to know whether demand for health care depends upon the underlying illness patterns or the demographics of the population. This study would suggest that the former are more important. The choice of mode of transportation is found to be is clearly endogenous, and affected by travel time, travel costs, and the income of the household. Assuming that consumers always walk to a facility unduly restricts the potential choices available to consumers. Willingness to pay for bus transport also provides a useful basis for estimating the value attached to missionary and government health centers. Facility quality strongly influences the choice of provider, and has more overall explanatory power than the cost of the service. At the same time, the model yields some unexpected results, possibly due to collinearity, or possibly suggesting that the facility choice process is quite complex.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Boston University, Institute for Economic Development in its series Boston University - Institute for Economic Development with number 15.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 1991
Handle: RePEc:fth:bosecd:15
Contact details of provider: Postal:
264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215

Phone: 617-353-4030
Fax: 617-353-4143
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Mwabu, Germano M., 1986. "Health care decisions at the household level: Results of a rural health survey in Kenya," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 315-319, January.
  2. Paul J. Gertler & Luis Locay & Warren C. Sanderson, 1987. "Are User Fees Regressive? The Welfare Implications of Health Care Financing Proposals in Peru," NBER Working Papers 2299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Florian Heiss, 2002. "Structural choice analysis with nested logit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(3), pages 227-252, August.
  4. Kenneth Train, 1985. "Qualitative Choice Analysis: Theory, Econometrics, and an Application to Automobile Demand," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200554, September.
  5. Heller, Peter S., 1982. "A model of the demand for medical and health services in Peninsular Malaysia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 267-284, January.
  6. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
  7. William H. Dow, 1999. "Flexible Discrete Choice Demand Models Consistent With Utility Maximization: An Application to Health Care Demand," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(3), pages 680-685.
  8. Dor, Avi & Gertler, Paul & van der Gaag, Jacques, 1987. "Non-price rationing and the choice of medical care providers in rural Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 291-304, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fth:bosecd:15. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.