Unlike performance incentives for private sector managers, little is known about performance incentives for managers in public sector bureaucracies. Through a randomized trial in rural China, we study performance incentives rewarding school administrators for reducing student anemia -- as well as complementarity between incentives and orthogonally assigned discretionary resources. Large (but not small) incentives and unrestricted grants both reduced anemia, but incentives were more cost-effective. Although unrestricted grants and small incentives do not interact, grants fully crowd-out the effect of larger incentives. Our findings suggest that performance incentives can be effective in bureaucratic environments, but they are not complementary to discretionary resources.
There is longstanding debate about the contribution of family planning programs to fertility decline. Studying the staggered introduction of family planning across Malaysia during the 1960s and 1970s, we find modest responses in fertility behavior. Higher (but not lower) parity birth hazards declined by one-quarter—but imply only a 5 percent decline in the overall annual probability of birth. Age at marriage rose by 0.48 years, but birth spacing conditional on this did not otherwise change.
Historically, improvements in the quality of municipal drinking water made important contributions to mortality decline in wealthy countries. However, water disinfection often does not produce equivalent benefits in developing countries today. We investigate this puzzle by analyzing an abrupt, large-scale municipal water disinfection program in Mexico in 1991 that increased the share of Mexico’s population receiving chlorinated water from 55% to 85% within six months.
We study how agents respond to performance incentives according to key personality traits (conscientiousness and neuroticism) through a field experiment offering financial incentives for improving maternal and neonatal health outcomes to rural Indian doctors. More conscientious providers performed better – but improved less – under performance incentives. The effect of the performance incentives was also smaller for providers with higher levels of neuroticism.
Between 1950 and 1980, China experienced the most rapid sustained increase in life expectancy in documented global history. However, no study of which we are aware has quantitatively assessed the relative importance of the various explanations proposed for these gains in survival.
There is longstanding debate in population policy about the relationship between modern contraception and abortion. Although theory predicts that they should be substitutes, the existing body of empirical evidence is difficult to interpret. What is required is a large-scale intervention that alters the supply (or full price) of one or the other – and importantly, does so in isolation (reproductive health programs
Since economic liberalization in the late 1970s, China's health care providers have grown heavily reliant on revenue from drugs, which they both prescribe and sell. To curb abuse and to promote the availability, safety, and appropriate use of essential drugs, China introduced its national essential drug list in 2009 and implemented a zero markup policy designed to decouple provider compensation from drug prescription and sales. The authors collected and analyzed representative data from China's township health centers and their catchment-area populations both before and after the reform.
Since economic liberalization in the late 1970s, China’s health care providers have grown heavily reliant on revenue from drugs, which they both prescribe and sell. To curb abuse and to promote the availability, safety, and appropriate use of essential drugs, China introduced its national essential drug list in 2009 and implemented a zero markup policy designed to decouple provider compensation from drug prescription and sales. We collected and analyzed representative data from China’s township health centers and their catchment-area populations both before and after the reform.
This article reviews empirical evidence on the micro-level consequences of family planning programs in middle- and low-income countries. In doing so, it focuses on fertility outcomes (the number and timing of births), women’s health and socioeconomic outcomes (mortality, human capital, and labor force participation), and children’s health and socio-economic outcomes throughout the life cycle.
Between 1950 and 1980, China experienced the most rapid sustained increase in life expectancy of any population in documented global history. We know of no study that has quantitatively assessed the relative importance of the various explanations proposed for this gain in survival. We have created and analysed a new, province-level panel data set spanning the decades between 1950 and 1980 by combining historical information from China's public health archives, official provincial yearbooks, and infant and child mortality records contained in the 1988 National Survey of Fertility and Contraception. Although exploratory, our results suggest that gains in school enrolment and public health campaigns together are associated with 55–70 per cent of China's dramatic reductions in infant and under-5 mortality during our study period. These results underscore the importance of non-medical determinants of population health, and suggest that, in some circumstances, general education of the population may amplify the effectiveness of public health interventions.
Political and economic transition is often blamed for Russia’s 40% surge in deaths between 1990 and 1994 (the “Russian Mortality Crisis”). Highlighting that increases in mortality occurred primarily among alcohol- related causes and among working-age men (the heaviest drinkers), this paper investigates a different explanation: the demise of the 1985-1988 Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign. We use archival sources to build a new oblast-year data set spanning 1970-2000 and find that:
Health risks from poor malaria control, unsafe water, and indoor air pollution are responsible for an important share of the global disease burden—and they can be addressed by efficacious household health technologies that have existed for decades. However, coverage rates of these products among populations at risk remain disappointingly low. We conducted a review of the medical and public health literatures and found that health considerations alone are rarely sufficient motivation for households to adopt and use these technologies.
Context The effect of global health initiatives on population health is uncertain. Between 2003 and 2008, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest initiative ever devoted to a single disease, operated intensively in 12 African focus countries. The initiative's effect on all-cause adult mortality is unknown.
Objective To determine whether PEPFAR was associated with relative changes in adult mortality in the countries and districts where it operated most intensively.