Women Left Behind: Gender Inequality Within Rajasthan's Health Insurance Program
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Title: Women Left Behind: Gender Inequality Within Rajasthan's Health Insurance Program
Asia Health Policy Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Shorenstein APARC
Working with Karen Eggleston, PhD, Director of the Asia Health Policy Program, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and Fellow at the Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research.
Abstract: Using data on millions of hospital visits, we document striking gender disparities under a government health insurance program that entitles 46 million poor households in Rajasthan, India to free hospital care. Young girls and elderly women comprise only 40% of all transactions in their age groups and these gaps are larger for private and tertiary care. The gender gap does not decrease over four years of implementation, despite substantial increases in total utilization. We find evidence consistent with the theory that the gap is driven by households’ willingness to allocate more resources to male than female health. Reducing the cost of care increases levels of utilization as well as male-female disparities. Female political representation reduces disparities, but not among the elderly.