Poverty, Ill-Health and Health Insurance in Pakistan

Research question/goal: 

This project asks how insurance against health shocks (that would constitute a major threat to labour productivity) affect health and labour markets in Pakistan. We consider not only health and poverty/vulnerability outcomes, but also other labour market outcomes such as child labour and migration. In countries with limited fiscal capacity, health insurance is only financially sustainable if it offers products and subcomponents that people are willing to pay for. In the project, we will evaluate individual, household and group-based insurance contracts with regard to their effects on adult labour input, child labour activities, schooling and health status. The analysis will also have a gender dimension to detect whether men and women are affected differently. Besides labour-market and migration consequences of offering health insurance we also assess the role of adverse selection, peer effects on take-up, moral hazard and informal risk-sharing transfers. Lessons drawn from this research on poor microfinance clients in Pakistan have important implications for neighbouring low-income countries in South Asia and beyond.

Current stage: 

Baseline and follow-up data were collected in more than 500 rural villages in Pakistan. The project is still gathering data on the second year of health insurance implementation. First analyses on the patterns of health insurance uptake were carried out with a particular focus on adverse selection. These analyses use existing baseline health data as well as information on health service utilization and insurance claims during the first year of insurance coverage.

Fact sheet

Funding: 
DFG
Duration: 
2015 to 2018
Status: 
ongoing
Data Sources: 
Client data of Pakistani microfinance organization
Geographic Space: 
Pakistan

Publications