Mobile Money and Healthcare Usage: Evidence from East Africa

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Exhibit Hall C (Marriott Wardman Park Hotel)

Presenter: Benjamin Cowan

Co-Author: Haseeb Ahmed

This paper uses a difference-in-difference framework to estimate and explore 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 and consultation and medication expenditures in comparison with the non-users of this technology. This conclusion is supported by the fact that we observe parallel trends in healthcare usage prior to a health shock between users and non-users of MMT.