Quotation Bennett, Daniel, Naqvi, Syed Ali Asjad, Schmidt, Wolf-peter. 2015. Learning, Hygiene, and Traditional Medicine. AEA The Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) 2015 Annual Meeting, Boston, Vereinigte Staaten/USA, 03.01-05.01.




The provision of health information, which is a common public health strategy, is only effective if the information is credible. Infectious disease prevention messages that invoke the germ theory may fail to persuade people who are unfamiliar with microbes. A novel program in rural Pakistan supplements conventional hygiene instruction by demonstrating with a microscope that microbes exist. Through a randomized evaluation, we show that this program leads to strong and lasting improvements in Hygiene and health for participants as well as their friends and family, while instruction alone does not. Adherence to traditional medicine, which offers another, non-pathogenic disease model, may undermine hygiene learning by strengthening prior beliefs. We show that hygiene and health improve less for believers in traditional medicine, while the intervention modestly weakens traditional beliefs. These results suggest that traditional and modern beliefs are substitutes and that traditional medicine may exacerbate the burden of infectious disease.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title Learning, Hygiene, and Traditional Medicine
Event AEA The Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) 2015 Annual Meeting
Year 2015
Date 03.01-05.01
Country United States/USA
Location Boston
URL https://www.aeaweb.org/Annual_Meeting/index.php


Naqvi, Syed Ali Asjad (Details)
Bennett, Daniel (University of Chicago, United States/USA)
Schmidt, Wolf-peter (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom)
Institute for Ecological Economics IN (Details)
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