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Commitment Mechanisms and Compliance with Health-protecting Behavior: Preliminary Evidence from Orissa (India)


  • Brian Blackburn
  • Aprajit Mahajan

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

  • Alessandro Torozzi
  • Joanne Yoong


Transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, malaria is one fo the major global health burdens, with a global incidence of 300-660 million cases every year. Malaria infection may develop into severe febrile episodes and lead to chronic disease and possibly death, and is particularly dire among young children and pregnant women. Numerous studies have shown that insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) are one of the most effective means of reducing malaria related morbidity and mortality. However, ITN adoption in most malaria areas remains very low and public health interventions frequently have insufficient resources to provide complete ITN coverage for all individuals at risk. Cost is often cited as the most obvious explanation for low usage, but another likely factor is the lack of proper information about potential benefits. The difficulty of inducing sustained compliance with health-protecting behavior is a common obstacle in public health initiatives. Researchers have argued that commitment devices can help poor households to overcome time-inconsistency in their preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Blackburn & Aprajit Mahajan & Alessandro Torozzi & Joanne Yoong, 2009. "Commitment Mechanisms and Compliance with Health-protecting Behavior: Preliminary Evidence from Orissa (India)," Discussion Papers 08-043, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:08-043

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2007. "The Illusion of Sustainability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(3), pages 1007-1065.
    2. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
    3. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    4. Robert W. Snow & Carlos A. Guerra & Abdisalan M. Noor & Hla Y. Myint & Simon I. Hay, 2005. "The global distribution of clinical episodes of Plasmodium falciparum malaria," Nature, Nature, vol. 434(7030), pages 214-217, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Haushofer & Michael Kremer & Ricardo Maertens & Brandon Joel Tan, 2021. "Water Treatment and Child Mortality: Evidence from Kenya," NBER Working Papers 29447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    3. Aditya Goenka & Lin Liu, 2020. "Infectious diseases, human capital and economic growth," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 70(1), pages 1-47, July.
    4. Damon Jones & Aprajit Mahajan, 2015. "Time-Inconsistency and Saving: Experimental Evidence from Low-Income Tax Filers," NBER Working Papers 21272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Liliane Bonnal & Pascal Favard & Domenico Polloni, 2017. "Risk Perception: Bed Net Use Against Malaria in Cameroon," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(3), pages 1630-1643.
    6. Alessandro Tarozzi & Ricardo Maertens & Kazi Matin Ahmed & Alexander van Geen, 2021. "Demand for Information on Environmental Health Risk, Mode of Delivery, and Behavioral Change: Evidence from Sonargaon, Bangladesh," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank, vol. 35(3), pages 764-792.
    7. Alessandro Tarozzi & Aprajit Mahajan & Brian Blackburn & Dan Kopf & Lakshmi Krishnan & Joanne Yoong, 2014. "Micro-loans, Insecticide-Treated Bednets, and Malaria: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Orissa, India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 1909-1941, July.
    8. Jacopo Bonan & Stefano Pareglio & Massimo Tavoni, 2014. "Access to Modern Energy: a Review of Impact Evaluations," Working Papers 2014.96, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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    More about this item


    malaria; India; bednets; global health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I19 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Other


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