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Learning (or Not) in Health-Seeking Behavior: Evidence from Rural Tanzania

Lucia Corno
Economic Development and Cultural Change
Vol. 63, No. 1 (October 2014), pp. 27-72
DOI: 10.1086/677724
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/677724
Page Count: 46
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Learning (or Not) in Health-Seeking Behavior: Evidence from Rural Tanzania
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Abstract

AbstractThe aim of this article is to understand the functioning of individuals’ health-seeking behavior. It studies, theoretically and empirically, whether individuals change health care providers over time, depending on the health outcome (i.e., healed or sick) after consultation with the previous caregiver. Results show that the previous health outcome plays a crucial role in shifting individual preferences to a particular type of medical care. I find that patients who healed after seeking health care are more likely to seek care again in the future. Furthermore, conditional on seeking care, individuals are more likely to return to formal (informal) health providers with whom they have experienced a previous history of cures and switch away from formal (informal) caregivers with whom they had a negative outcome. I interpret these results as learning about clinicians’ quality over time. The effects are tested using 4-year panel data from a household survey in Tanzania.

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