Jishnu Das is a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development and Public Services Team) at the World Bank and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi. Jishnu’s work focuses on the delivery of basic services, particularly health and education. He has worked on the quality of health care, mental health, information in health and education markets, child learning and test-scores and the determinants of trust. His work has been published in leading economics, health and education journals and widely covered in the media and policy forums. In 2011 he was part of the core team on the World Development Report on Gender and Development. He received the George Bereday Award from the Comparative and International Education Society and the Stockholm Challenge Award for the best ICT project in the public administration category in 2006, and the Research Academy award from the World Bank in 2013. He is currently working on long-term projects on health and education markets in India and Pakistan.
Health care providers without any formal medical training provide more than 70% of all primary care in rural India. This study combines unique data from standardized patients (“mystery clients”) with random assignment to a training program conducted by The Liver Foundation in West Bengal to assess whether training can improve their quality of care. The paper is jointly authored with Abhijit V. Banerjee at MIT, Abhijit Chowdhury at SSKM hospitals in Kolkata and Reshmaan Hussam at Yale University.
We surveyed more than 23,000 households in 100 villages of Madhya Pradesh India. We also surveyed the more than 1,000 health care providers these households visited for primary care. By linking household characteristics to the quality of the providers they visited, we are able to study, for the first time in India, key questions such as: Who are the health care providers in rural India? What are the visit shares of informal providers for primary illnesses? And, do households with low socioeconomic status receive lower quality care than households with high socioeconomic status—and by how much? The paper is jointly authored with Aakash Mohpal, who is a Young Professional at The World Bank.
In Aid we Trust: Hearts and Minds and the Pakistan Earthquake of 2005
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming
Whether Muslim attitudes towards the West are best described as a “clash of civilizations”, a response to “high-level politics” or grounded in their daily lived experience is a critical question for the world today. We examine Muslim attitudes towards the West after an earthquake in Northern Pakistan led to a significant inflow of international relief groups. Four years later, trust in Europeans and Americans was markedly higher among those exposed to the earthquake and the relief that followed. We thus demonstrate large-scale, durable attitudinal change in a representative Muslim population. Trust in Westerners among Muslims is malleable and not a deep-rooted function of preferences or global (as opposed to local) policy and actions, a welcome finding in these days of increasing vitriol against Muslim populations worldwide. The paper is co-authored with Tahir Andrabi.
Use of standardised patients to assess antibiotic dispensing for tuberculosis by pharmacies in urban India: a cross-sectional study
Lancet Infectious Diseases, August 2016
When it comes to antibiotic use and wide ranging dispensing of prescription-only drugs by pharmacies, India is thought to be one of the worst offenders. This is particularly problematic for a disease like Tuberculosis where some drugs can make the disease worse and others can increase resistance to known regimens. We evaluate how pharmacists treated patients with the symptoms of Tuberculosis versus confirmed Tuberculosis in the Indian cities of Mumbai, Patna and Delhi. We show vast differences in the behavior of pharmacists across these two types of patients. This article is part of my work with co-PI Madhukar Pai at McGill University on Tuberculosis in India.
Quality and Accountability in Healthcare Delivery: Audit Evidence from Primary Care Providers in India
American Economic Review, forthcoming
Evaluating the quality of care in the public and private sector is notoriously hard. We sent standardized patients (mystery clients) to representative samples of public and private sector providers in rural Madhya Pradesh, India. We then sent standardized patients to the public and private clinics of the same doctors. The paper evaluates whether patients get what they should and don’t get what they shouldn’t—and how this differs across the public and private sector as well as across the public and private clinics of the same doctor. The paper is jointly authored with Alaka Holla and Aakash Mohpal, both at The World Bank and Karthik Muralidharan at UCSD.
Delivering Education: A Pragmatic Framework for Improving Education in Low-Income Countries
Handbook of International Development and Education, May 2015
The rise of private schooling is always intertwined with debates about who is the correct arbiter of value for our schools. Rather than first resolve this question of how child welfare is to be adjudicated, we argue for a “pragmatic framework”. Using the language of “market failures”, we ask what happens when policy makers systematically alleviate constraints in the labor market, in the credit market and in the market for information. Using policy actionable experiments as examples, we argue that such a pragmatic approach can lead to greater enrollment and higher learning for children.
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