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Health information, treatment, and worker productivity : experimental evidence from malaria testing and treatment among Nigerian sugarcane cutters

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  • Dillon, Andrew
  • Friedman, Jed
  • Serneels, Pieter

Abstract

Agricultural and other physically demanding sectors are important sources of growth in developing countries but prevalent diseases such as malaria adversely impact the productivity, labor supply, and choice of job tasks among workers by reducing physical capacity. This study identifies the impact of malaria on worker earnings, labor supply, and daily productivity by randomizing the temporal order at which piece-rate workers at a large sugarcane plantation in Nigeria are offered malaria testing and treatment. The results indicate a significant and substantial intent to treat effect of the intervention -- the offer of a workplace-based malaria testing and treatment program increases worker earnings by approximately 10 percent over the weeks following the offer. The study further investigates theeffect of health information by contrasting program effects by workers'revealed health status. For workers who test positive for malaria, the treatment of illness increases labor supply, leading to higher earnings. For workers who test negative, and especially for those workers most likely to be surprised by the healthy diagnosis, the health information also leads to increased earnings via increased productivity. Possible mechanisms for this response include selection into higher return tasks within the plantation as a result of changes in the perceived cost of effort. A model of the worker labor decision that allows health expectations partly to determine the supply of effort suggests that, in endemic settings with poor quality health services, inaccurate health perceptions may lead workers to suboptimal labor allocation decisions. The results underline the importance of medical treatment, but also of access to improved information about one's health status, as the absence of either may lead workers to deliver lower effort in lower return jobs.

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  • Dillon, Andrew & Friedman, Jed & Serneels, Pieter, 2014. "Health information, treatment, and worker productivity : experimental evidence from malaria testing and treatment among Nigerian sugarcane cutters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7120, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7120
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    Cited by:

    1. Schurer, Stefanie, 2017. "Bouncing back from health shocks: Locus of control and labor supply," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 1-20.
    2. Samar Khairy Ghanem, 2018. "The relationship between population and the environment and its impact on sustainable development in Egypt using a multi-equation model," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 305-342, February.
    3. Melvin Stephens, Jr. & Desmond J. Toohey, 2018. "The Impact of Health on Labor Market Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from MRFIT," NBER Working Papers 24231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joseph Goeb & Andrew Dillon & Frank Lupi & David Tschirley, 2020. "Pesticides: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(5), pages 801-836.
    5. Adesina, Adedoyin & Akogun, Oladele & Dillon, Andrew & Friedman, Jed & Njobdi, Sani & Serneels, Pieter, 2017. "Robustness and External Validity: What do we Learn from Repeated Study Designs over Time?," 2018 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 5-7, 2018, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 266292, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Cohen, Jessica & Saran, Indrani, 2018. "The impact of packaging and messaging on adherence to malaria treatment: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Uganda," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 68-95.
    7. Seuring, Till & Serneels, Pieter & Suhrcke, Marc, 2019. "The impact of diabetes on labour market outcomes in Mexico: A panel data and biomarker analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 233(C), pages 252-261.
    8. Akogun, Oladele & Dillon, Andrew & Friedman, Jed & Prasann, Ashesh & Serneels, Pieter, 2017. "Productivity and Health: Alternative Productivity Measures using Physical Activity," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258380, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Johannes Haushofer & Anett John & Kate Orkin, 2019. "Can Simple Psychological Interventions Increase Preventive Health Investment?," NBER Working Papers 25731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Milusheva,Sveta, 2020. "Using Mobile Phone Data to Reduce Spread of Disease," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9198, The World Bank.
    11. Bernard, Tanguy & Hidrobo, Melissa & Le Port, Agnès & Rawat, Rahul, 2017. "Nutrition incentives in dairy contract farming in northern Senegal," IFPRI discussion papers 1629, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Akogun, Oladele & Dillon, Andrew & Friedman, Jed & Prasann, Ashesh & Serneels, Pieter, 2017. "Productivity and Health: Alternative Productivity Estimates Using Physical Activity," IZA Discussion Papers 11115, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Schurer, Stefanie, 2014. "Bouncing Back from Health Shocks: Locus of Control, Labor Supply, and Mortality," IZA Discussion Papers 8203, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Milusheva, Sveta, 2020. "Managing the spread of disease with mobile phone data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Disease Control&Prevention; Labor Markets; Labor Policies; Work&Working Conditions;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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