Three Essays on the Economics of Health in Developing Countries

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Title Three Essays on the Economics of Health in Developing Countries
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
This dissertation consists of three chapters that address health issues in developing countries.
The first two chapters study Ghana’s social health insurance program, the National
Health Insurance Scheme. Many developing countries have recently instituted social health
insurance schemes (SHIs) to ease financial barriers to utilization of healthcare services and
help mitigate the effects of adverse health shocks. Although these SHIs offer generous terms
and benefits, enrollment remains low especially among the poorest households who are the
intended primary beneficiaries. The first two chapters are based on randomized field interventions
implemented in the Wa West district of the Upper West Region of Ghana to
(a) understand the reasons for low enrollment in SHIs; (b) estimate the effects of insurance
coverage on utilization of healthcare services, financial protection and health outcomes,
and c) learn about how resource-constrained households allocate health resources among its
members. The interventions were increased convenience of signing for insurance, an education
intervention that provided information about the insurance program, and a subsidy
intervention that included varying levels of subsidies for insurance premiums.

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