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Social Incentives for Child Immunization & Pregnancy Care

Health & Psychology Sierra Leone

Maternal and child mortality is a public health problem in many sub-Saharan African countries, where many women do not seek timely prenatal care nor deliver their babies with a skilled attendant. This project rigorously measures the impact of social incentives on pregnancy care decisions in Sierra Leone, which has one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world. Specifically, researchers randomly assign colored bracelets to 90 clinics in order to understand if behavior change is driven by social signaling. Pregnant women receive different colored bracelets when they come in for prenatal care visits and deliver with a skilled attendant. For the first treatment group, the bracelets given show that a woman has visited the clinic, but do not show how many visits; while for the second, it is observable how many recommended prenatal care visits a woman completed, and whether she delivered safely. Findings will show whether being observed for following recommended behavior leads to safer behavior among pregnant women. Results forthcoming.

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