Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Living standards measurement study (LSMS) working paper
Title Willingness to pay for the quality and intensity of medical care: low-income households in Ghana
Volume 1
Issue LSM94
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1991
URL http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/main?pagePK=64193027&piPK=64187937&theSitePK=523679&me​nuPK=64187510&searchMenuPK=64187283&theSitePK=523679&entityID=000009265_3970716144503&searchMenuPK=6​4187283&theSitePK=523679
Important choices about the organization of health care systems and the role of government in the provision of health care depend crucially upon citizen demand for health services as well as the efficiency of those services in promoting the well-being of citizens. In the context of developing countries, where available public resources are scarce, credible estimates of the private value of subsidized treatment are needed to establish priorities for public budgeting. This paper estimates the elements affecting the choice among different kinds and intensities of medical treatment in response to illness or injury. The authors also estimate households' willingness to pay for medical care. In the empirical analysis, particular attention is paid to three important theoretical and measurement issues: 1) the decision to seek medical treatment and the intensity of treatment sought is responsive to an ex ante evaluation of the seriousness of the illness or injury, not to some outcome of the treatment measured ex post; 2) the decision to seek treatment includes qualitative and quantitative dimensions; and 3) the cost of medical services is borne by consumers in highly complex ways, depending upon the facility chosen, the number of consultations or treatments sought, the seriousness of the illness or injury, and government policy for subsidy or insurance. The data used for this analysis are well suited to address the difficulty of drawing inferences about these complex measurement issues in consumer choices. The analysis is conducted using cross sectional data on the behavior of Ghanaian households -- typically low income households -- in response to illness or injury. The empirical analysis is based upon the choices of 5,000 individuals in 1987.

Related studies