Does Discrimination Drive the Gender Differences in Health Expenditures on Adults: Evidence from Cancer Patients in Rural India

Akansha Batra, Indian Statistical Institute
Indrani Gupta, Institute of Economic Growth (IEG)
Abhiroop Mukhopadhaya, Indian Statistical Institute

Research on developing countries has shown many instances of discrimination against women in health and education. In the context of health, our paper is striking because cancer, is a potentially life threatening disease. We show that the average medical expenditure, conditional on the type of cancer and other socioeconomic characteristics, is larger for men as compared to women. We show this using a longitudinal survey of 204 cancer patients and their families in a poor Indian state Odisha. We use generalised linear models to capture the gender differentials and seemingly unrelated regressions to estimate both lower medical expenditure before reaching the tertiary center as well as a lower probability of being treated. Discrimination is greater among lower income groups , elderly women and females in the joint family. Using nationally representative data, we show discrimination exists distinctly in non-communicable diseases against communicable diseases, as communicable diseases have negative externalities for the household.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 8: Adult Health and Mortality