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Incentivized Peer Referrals for Tuberculosis Screening: Evidence from India


  • Jessica Goldberg
  • Mario Macis
  • Pradeep Chintagunta


We study whether and how peer referrals increase screening, testing, and identification of patients with tuberculosis, an infectious disease responsible for over one million deaths annually. In an experiment with 3,176 patients at 122 tuberculosis treatment centers in India, we find that small financial incentives raise the probability that existing patients refer prospective patients for screening and testing, resulting in cost-effective identification of new cases. Incentivized referrals operate through two mechanisms: peers have private information about individuals in their social networks to target for outreach, and they are more effective than health workers in inducing these individuals to get tested.

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  • Jessica Goldberg & Mario Macis & Pradeep Chintagunta, 2018. "Incentivized Peer Referrals for Tuberculosis Screening: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 25279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25279
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    Cited by:

    1. Guido Friebel & Matthias Heinz & Mitchell Hoffman & Nick Zubanov, 2023. "What Do Employee Referral Programs Do? Measuring the Direct and Overall Effects of a Management Practice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 131(3), pages 633-686.
    2. Seema Kacker & Mario Macis & Prateek Gajwani & David S. Friedman, 2022. "Providing vouchers and value information for already free eye exams increases uptake among a low‐income minority population: A randomized trial," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 541-551, March.
    3. Thomas Bossuroy & Clara Delavallade & Vincent Pons, 2019. "Biometric Tracking, Healthcare Provision, and Data Quality: Experimental Evidence from Tuberculosis Control," NBER Working Papers 26388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ricardo Maertens & Alessandro Tarozzi & Kazi Matin Ahmed & Alexander van Geen, 2018. "Demand for Information on Environmental Health Risk, Mode of Delivery, and Behavioral Change: Evidence from Sonargaon, Bangladesh," Working Papers id:12934, eSocialSciences.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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