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Malaria, Productivity and Access to Treatment: Experimental Evidence from Nigeria

The consequences of ill health for productivity and economic development are presumed to be severe yet the rigorous evidence base for such a linkage is small. In previous work, statistically significant and large intent to treat effects were estimated on earnings, labor supply and productivity of a curative malaria treatment at a large sugarcane plantation in Nigeria.

A mobile health clinic was established on the plantation and used an exogenously determined ordering of workers to test and treat workers. Despite large treatment effects, we find that workers have low rates of seeking curative and preventative treatments. To better understand this puzzle, this study offers access to malaria treatment and insurance at exogenously varied prices to estimate its effect on take-up and frequency of health care.

In another study phase, the study will also measure the effect of treatment on both worker productivity and physical activity  This will allow estimation of the effects of malaria on physical activity in general, and allow us to extrapoliate our findings in this context to other physical occupations in endemic areas.