Mobile Money and Healthcare Use: Evidence from East Africa
This paper uses a difference-in-difference framework to estimate the effects of mobile money transfer technology (MMT) on healthcare usage in the face of negative health shocks. We use survey data from 2013-16 with quarterly observations on about 1,600 households of 10 villages in the Kisumu region of Western Kenya. We find evidence that MMT, likely through greater ease of informal borrowing, helps households increase utilization of formal healthcare services in terms of visits to a clinic, consultation and medication expenditures in comparison with the non-users of this technology.
We are grateful to the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for collecting the data used in this paper. We would also like to thank Jonathan Yoder, Tom Marsh, Phil Wandschneider, Shanthi Manian, Joe Cook, and seminar participants at Information Technology University, Lahore for insightful discussions and comments on this project. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.