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The impact of recall periods on reported morbidity and health seeking behavior

  • Das, Jishnu
  • Hammer, Jeffrey
  • Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina

Between 2000 and 2002, the authors followed 1621 individuals in Delhi, India using a combination of weekly and monthly-recall health questionnaires. In 2008, they augmented these data with another 8 weeks of surveys during which households were experimentally allocated to surveys with different recall periods in the second half of the survey. This paper shows that the length of the recall period had a large impact on reported morbidity, doctor visits, time spent sick, whether at least one day of work/school was lost due to sickness, and the reported use of self-medication. The effects are more pronounced among the poor than the rich. In one example, differential recall effects across income groups reverse the sign of the gradient between doctor visits and per-capita expenditures such that the poor use health care providers more than the rich in the weekly recall surveys but less in monthly recall surveys. The authors hypothesize that illnesses -- especially among the poor -- are no longer perceived as"extraordinary events"but have become part of"normal"life. They discuss the implications of these results for health survey methodology, and the economic interpretation of sickness in poor populations.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5778.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5778
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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Angus Deaton & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Wealth, health, and health services in rural rajasthan," Framed Field Experiments 00121, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2005. "Money for nothing : the dire straits of medical practice in Delhi, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3669, The World Bank.
  3. Adam Wagstaff & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2000. "Measuring and Testing for Inequity in the Delivery of Health Care," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 716-733.
  4. Strauss, J. & Thomas, D., 1995. "Health, Nutrition and Economic development," Papers 95-23, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  5. Kakwani, Nanak & Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1997. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: Measurement, computation, and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 87-103, March.
  6. Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2004. "Which doctor? Combining vignettes and item response to measure doctor quality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3301, The World Bank.
  7. Paqueo, Vicente B. & Gonzalez, Christian Y., 2003. "Economic analysis of health care utilization and perceived illness ; ethnicity and other factors," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3125, The World Bank.
  8. Kenneth L. Leonard & Melkiory C. Masatu & Alexandre Vialou, 2007. "Getting Doctors to Do Their Best: The Roles of Ability and Motivation in Health Care Quality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  9. Zwane, A. P. & Zinman, J. & Van Dusen, E. & Pariente, W. & Null, C. & Miguel, E. & Kremer, Michael R. & Karlan, D. S. & Hornbeck, Richard A. & Gine, X. & Duflo, E. & Devoto, F. & Crepon, B. & Banerjee, 2011. "Being Surveyed Can Change Later Behavior and Related Parameter Estimates," Scholarly Articles 11339433, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Das, Jishnu & Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina, 2003. "Short but not sweet - new evidence on short duration morbidities from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2971, The World Bank.
  11. Dow, W & Gertly, P & Schoeni, R-F & Strauss, J & Thomas, D, 1997. "Health Care Prices, Health and Labor Outcomes : Experimental Evidence," Papers 97-01, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  12. 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.
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