Health Seeking Behavior among Rural Left-behind Children: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in China

More than 60 million children in rural China are left-behind both parents live and work far from rural homes and leave behind their children. This paper explores the variations in how left-behind and non-left-behind families seek health remediation in China's vast but understudied rural areas. We examine this question in the context of a program to provide vision health care to myopic rural students, using data from a randomized controlled trial of 13,100 students in two provinces in China. We find that without a subsidy, uptake of health care services is low, even if individuals are provided with evidence of a potential problem (an eyeglasses prescription). Uptake rises two to three times when this information is paired with a subsidy voucher redeemable for a free pair of prescription eyeglasses. Left-behind children who receive an eyeglasses voucher are not only more likely to redeem it, but also more likely to use the eyeglasses. In other words, in terms of uptake of care and compliance with treatment, the voucher program benefitted left-behind students more than non-left-behind students. The results provide a scientific understanding of differential impacts for guiding effective implementation of health policy to all groups in need in developing countries. Acknowledgement :

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
I24; I12

 Record created 2018-10-02, last modified 2020-10-28

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