Voodoo, Vaccines and Bed Nets
Nik Stoop (),
Marijke Verpoorten () and
LICOS Discussion Papers from LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven
We provide the first quantitative analysis to scrutinize the ample ethnographic evidence that magico-religious beliefs affect the demand for conventional healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa. We rely on the unique case of Benin, where Voodoo-adherence is freely reported, and varies greatly within villages and even within households, yet can be traced to historic events that are arguably exogenous to present-day healthcare behavior. These features allow us to account for confounding village- and household-factors, and address self-selection into Voodoo. We find that Voodoo adherence of the mother is associated with lower uptake of preventive healthcare measures and worse child health outcomes, a relationship that weakens but remains when controlling for village dummies and a large set of observables. We employ three different strategies to test for the potential influence of unobservables. The results suggest that the estimated Voodoo-effects are partly causal. A tentative exploration of the causal mechanisms suggests a mediating role of traditional healers.
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Journal Article: Voodoo, Vaccines, and Bed Nets (2019)
Working Paper: Voodoo, vaccines and bed nets (2017)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:lic:licosd:39417
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