Collage of seminar photos. © UNU-WIDER

Pauline Rossi on private health investments under competing risks

WIDER Seminar Series

At the WIDER Seminar on 18 October 2017, Pauline Rossi will present findings on private health investments in Senegal.  

Abstract – Private health investments under competing risks: evidence from malaria control in Senegal | Slides

This study exploits the introduction of high subsidies for anti-malaria products in Senegal in 2009 to investigate if malaria prevents parents to invest in child health. Building upon the seminal paper of Dow et al. (1999), we develop a simple model of health investments under competing mortality risks, in which people allocate expenses to equalize risks from all causes of death. We predict that private health investments to fight malaria as well as other diseases should increase in response to anti-malaria public interventions. To test this prediction, we use original panel data from a Senegalese household survey combined with geographical information on malaria prevalence. Our strategy is to compare the evolution of child health expenditures before and after anti-malaria interventions, between malarious and non-malarious regions of Senegal.

We find that health expenditures in malarious regions catch up with non-malarious regions, in proportions and in levels, and both at the intensive and extensive margins. The same result holds for parental health-seeking behavior in case of other diseases like diarrhea. We provide evidence that these patterns cannot be explained by differential trends in total income, access to healthcare or child morbidity between malarious and non-malarious regions. Our results suggest that behavioral responses to anti-malaria campaigns magnify their impact on all-cause mortality for children.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others working on development topics. Click here to read more about the WIDER Seminar Series.