Professor Jeffrey Hammer comes to the Woodrow Wilson School after 25 years at the World Bank, having held various positions related to public economics, the last three in the New Delhi office, and was an author of the World Development Report 2004 "Making Services Work for Poor People." Jeff's research interests include economic development, public economics and health in poor countries. His current research is on the quality of medical care in India, absenteeism of teachers and health workers, determinants of health status and improving service delivery through better accountability mechanisms.
Jeff has been involved in numerous research projects with a variety of colleagues on issues of health policy in India. He is currently writing the health volume for the “Program on Indian Economic Policies: Free Trade, Democracy, and Entrepreneurial Development” at Columbia University (series editors: Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya). The working title is “It’s broken: Health policy in India”.
Recent and ongoing studies include:
Recall periods and survey responses. This is a methodological study that examines the effect that different wording in questionnaires have on the responses people give to common questions about whether they were sick recently and whether they sought treatment for their problems. Poor people appear to get sick quite often, so much so that a monthly recall shows many fewer incidents of illness, visits to medical practitioners and expenditure on medical care than a two-week recall period. This effect declines continuously with income.
“The impact of recall periods on reported mortality and health seeking behavior”, (with Jishnu Das and Carolina Sanchez-Paramo), Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming.
Absenteeism among medical personnel in India: Implementing a nationally representative survey that entailed surprise visits to Primary Health Clinics (PHCs) and schools, this study found that over 40% of personnel at PHCs were absent at any one time. This was in addition to vacant positions, and salaries were paid for these workers. This work has been in conjunction with Nazmul Chaudhury and F. Halsey Rogers at the World Bank, Michael Kremer at Harvard and Karthik Muralidharan at UCSD. To read his working paper “Health personnel absenteeism in India: descriptive statistics and correlations” (with Nazmul Chaudhury, Michael Kremer, Karthik Muralidharan and F. Halsey Rogers), CHW working paper series. [April 2008], click the following link: Health_Personnel_Absenteeism.pdf.
“Missing in Action: Teachers and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries” (with Michael Kremer, Nazmul Chaudhury, Karthik Muralidharan and F. Halsey Rogers), Journal of Economic Perspectives, v. 20, no. 1, Spring 2006.
“Teacher Absenteeism in India: A Snapshot” (with Michael Kremer, Nazmul Chaudhury, Karthik Muralidharan and F. Halsey Rogers) Journal of the European Economics Association, 2005. Reprinted in The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India, Primary Education: Issues and Perspectives, New Delhi, 2006.
“Ghost Doctors: Absenteeism in Rural Bangladeshi Health Facilities” (with Nazmul Chaudhury), The World Bank Economic Review, v. 18, no. 3, 2004.
Over the years, Professor Hammer has been writing articles published in the Financial Express (India). Below are links to Jeff's recently published articles:
"Carbon tax vs. cheap talk" (November 25, 2009)
"You get what you pay for & it's not much" (September 8, 2009)
"Economics of going places: let them come" (October 14, 2009)
"One size chappal doesn't fit all" (August 19, 2009)
"What not to do in tackling swine flu" (August 10, 2009)
"Good cities need less government" (July 28, 2009)
"It's the Wrong Medicine, Minister" (July 9, 2009)
"The healthcare debate, in Bharat" (July 6, 2009)
Professor Hammer was interviewed on July 11, 2009 on NDTV (India), appearing on the show "Policy with Patnaik." Ila Patnaik is a Senior Fellow at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi. View the episode: Jeff Hammer on Indian health system.