Financial Incentives, Targeting, and Utilization of Child Health Services: Experimental Evidence from Zambia

Health Econ. 2017 Oct;26(10):1307-1321. doi: 10.1002/hec.3404. Epub 2016 Sep 13.


To address untreated infections in children, routine health checkups have increasingly been incentivized as part of conditional cash transfer programs targeted at the poor. We conducted a field experiment in Zambia to assess the elasticity of demand for checkups as well as the associated health benefits. We find that relatively small incentives induce substantial increases in uptake among non-farming households and households living farther away from clinics, but not among households in the top wealth quintile. These results suggest that small financial incentives may be an efficient way to target poor populations. However, given the weak socioeconomic gradient in infections observed, small incentives will miss a substantial fraction of exposed children. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: child health; financial incentives; global health; utilization of health services.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infections / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population
  • Transportation
  • Zambia