Skip to Main Navigation

Health information, treatment, and worker productivity : experimental evidence from malaria testing and treatment among Nigerian sugarcane cutters (English)

Agricultural and other physically demanding sectors are important sources of growth in developing countries but prevalent diseases such as malaria adversely impact the productivity, labor supply, and choice of job tasks among workers by reducing physical capacity. This study identifies the impact of malaria on worker earnings, labor supply, and daily productivity by randomizing the temporal order at which piece-rate workers at a large sugarcane plantation in Nigeria are offered malaria testing and treatment. The results indicate a significant and substantial intent to treat effect of the intervention -- the offer of a workplace-based malaria testing and treatment program increases worker earnings by approximately 10 percent over the weeks following the offer. The study further investigates the effect of health information by contrasting program effects by workers' revealed health status. For workers who test positive for malaria, the treatment of illness increases labor supply, leading to higher earnings. For workers who test negative, and especially for those workers most likely to be surprised by the healthy diagnosis, the health information also leads to increased earnings via increased productivity. Possible mechanisms for this response include selection into higher return tasks within the plantation as a result of changes in the perceived cost of effort. A model of the worker labor decision that allows health expectations partly to determine the supply of effort suggests that, in endemic settings with poor quality health services, inaccurate health perceptions may lead workers to suboptimal labor allocation decisions. The results underline the importance of medical treatment, but also of access to improved information about one's health status, as the absence of either may lead workers to deliver lower effort in lower return jobs.


  • Author

    Dillon,Andrew S., Friedman,Jed, Serneels,Pieter Maria

  • Document Date


  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country


  • Region


  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Doc Name

    Health information, treatment, and worker productivity : experimental evidence from malaria testing and treatment among Nigerian sugarcane cutters

  • Keywords

    short period of time;quality health care;quality of health care;provision of health care;Poverty & Inequality;labor outcomes;labor supply;access to treatment;impact of malaria;treatment for malaria;distribution of workers;increase in labor;treatment of malaria;result of change;nationally representative survey;health production function;difference in outcomes;costs of malaria;diagnosis of malaria;population of worker;treatment of illness;benefits of access;health and nutrition;effect of pollution;malaria control program;health information;medical treatment;health status;piece rate;malaria infection;malaria parasite;worker productivity;parasite count;Health Workers;occupational choice;labor productivity;plantation worker;physical health;endemic area;daily earnings;blood sample;healthy worker;experimental study;cut cane;experimental design;parasite load;theoretical model;blood smear;fixed effect;robustness check;minimum level;average earning;expected utility;laboratory technician;physical work;good health;study area;improved information;study period;work force;daily wage;intervention impact;treatment effect;sugarcane plantation;utility function;malaria symptom;productivity benefit;local clinic;health issue;estimate impact;household expenditure;causal impact;robustness analysis;severe malaria;agricultural worker;body aches;parasite density;curative care;field work;pooled estimate;household level;malaria treatment;gold standard;demographic characteristic;malaria outbreak;study design;diagnostic standards;public health;present evidence;blood slides;curative treatment;risk neutral;blood film;positivity rate;descriptive statistic;measurement error;adult dose;falciparum malaria;protective effect;malaria case;observational study;household consumption;labor dynamics;agricultural season;accurate information;statistical significance;longer period;individual characteristic;expected return;information component;net return;econometric problem;home production;endowment effect;malaria health;temporal variation;observational data;policy regard;work effort;sugarcane cutting;agricultural productivity;field experiment;compensation amount;water canals;work history;free health;nutritional status;prime age;household characteristic;survey period;sugar processing;worker interview;human capital;productivity gain;workplace program;inaccurate information;sexual practice;treating malaria;health behavior;wage setting;clinical setting;social trust;diagnostic approach;malaria diagnosis;health beliefs;counterfactual group;adversely impact;world history;clinical standards;clinical care;sugar plantation;technological innovation;Mobile Health;young child;severe complications;production frontier;farm output;Early childhood;physical capacity;development policy;increase productivity;open access;program effect;labor allocation;Health Service;



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Dillon,Andrew S. Friedman,Jed Serneels,Pieter Maria

Health information, treatment, and worker productivity : experimental evidence from malaria testing and treatment among Nigerian sugarcane cutters (English). Impact Evaluation series,Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 7120 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.