We study whether and how peer referrals increase screening, testing, and identification of patients with tuberculosis, an infectious disease responsible for over one million deaths annually. In an experiment with 3,176 patients at 122 tuberculosis treatment centers in India, we find that small financial incentives raise the probability that existing patients refer prospective patients for screening and testing, resulting in cost-effective identification of new cases. Incentivized referrals operate through two mechanisms: peers have private information about individuals in their social networks to target for outreach, and they are more effective than health workers in inducing these individuals to get tested.
Goldberg, Jessica, Mario Macis, and Pradeep Chintagunta.
"Incentivized Peer Referrals for Tuberculosis Screening: Evidence from India."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
National Government Expenditures and Health
Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification