Health, Nutrition and Population, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
health economics; social safety nets; poverty
Health, Nutrition and Population, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
Hou, Xiaohui is a Senior Economist in the World Bank. Joined as a Young Professional, she has since worked in Human Development department and Poverty Reduction and Economic Management department across the East Europe and Central Asia region, the South Asia region, and most recently the East Asia and Pacific region. She also spent a number of years in the World Bank Institute, the capacity building arm of the World Bank, focusing on face to face training and network development. Her fields include health economics, social safety net, labor economics and impact evaluation. She has published a dozen of papers in both economics and medical peer reviewed journals. She also teaches as a visiting scholar. A Peking University graduate, she obtained her Ph.D. in the Health Services and Policy Analysis and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s degree in Health Policy and Administration from the Washington State University.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
The Impact of the Food Price Crisis on Consumption and Caloric Availability in Pakistan : Evidence from Repeated Cross-sectional and Panel Data(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-11) Friedman, Jed ; Hong, Seo Yeon ; Hou, XiaohuiWelfare losses from the 2008 food price crisis in Pakistan are deepening the gap between poor and non poor populations and further increasing inequality between the provinces. To estimate welfare losses, the reduction in caloric availability at household level is measured. The analysis of calorie intake by source supports the notion that rural households were shielded from the worst effects of the crisis by their capacity to grow their own food. Compensating variation estimates suggest that the average household would need 38 percent of its total precrisis expenditure to maintain precrisis consumption levels. The impact of the food price crisis (measured as the percentage of total expenditure required to restore consumption to the precrisis level) peaked at the end of 2008 to twice as high as at the start of the year. Average household caloric availability fell by almost 8 percent between 2006 and first half of 2008. Urban households were relatively worse off than rural households during the crisis. Income gains from sales of agricultural commodities produced by rural households presumably offset the negative impact of the food crisis to some degree. The drawdown of assets over 2008-10 was another important coping mechanism, especially for households without access to land.
The Heterogeneous Effects of a Food Price Crisis on Child School Enrollment and Labor : Evidence from Pakistan(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08) Hou, Xiaohui ; Hong, Seo YeonUsing a panel survey, this paper investigates how the increase in food prices in Pakistan in 2008-2010 affected children's school enrollment and labor. The causal identification relies on geographical variations in the price of food (wheat). The results show that the negative impacts of food price increase on school enrollment differ by gender, economic status, and the presence of siblings. The negative effects on school do not directly correspond to the increase in child labor because the transition from being idle to labor activity or from school to being idle are significant, particularly among the poor girls. The results also show that children in households with access to agricultural land are not affected by higher food prices. The analyses reveal a more dynamic picture of the impact of food price increase on child status and contribute to broader policy discussion to mitigate the impact of crises on children's education.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-04) Hou, Xiaohui ; Chao, ShiyanAs part of the recent health reform effort, the government of Georgia launched a Medical Assistance Program in June 2006 to provide health insurance to its poor population. So far the program covers slightly over 50 percent of the poor and provides benefit coverage for outpatient and inpatient care. This paper estimates initial impact of the Medical Assistance Program and assesses whether the benefits have reached the poorest among those eligible, using utilization data from June 2006 to December 2006. Based on the analysis using a regression discontinuity design and a three-part model, the paper presents two main findings. First, the Medical Assistance Program has significantly increased utilization of acute surgeries/inpatient services by the poor. Second, the benefits have successfully reached the poorest among the poor. These two findings indicate that government efforts to improve the poor's access to and utilization of health services are yielding results. The paper emphasizes that the initial dramatic increase in surgeries must be interpreted with caution, given the possible misclassification or misreporting of acute surgeries in the data. The paper also stresses the need to continue monitoring implementation of the Medical Assistance Program and further improve program design, particularly the targeting mechanism, to achieve better efficiency, effectiveness and overall equity in access to health care services.
A Snapshot of Health Equity in Papua New Guinea: An Analysis of the 2010 Household Income and Expenditure Survey(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-06) Irava, Wayne ; Barker, Katie ; Somanathan, Aparnaa ; Hou, XiaohuiThis paper highlights challenges that the government of Papua New Guinea faces in delivering equitable health care. It analyses findings from the 2010 household survey, including sickness reporting, health service utilization and out of pocket expenditure, concluding that the poorest quintile is most vulnerable to illness, yet has the lowest utilization rates of healthcare facilities. The lack of healthcare workers and the distance to facilities are among the most dominant reasons cited for not utilizing healthcare facilities in the poorest quintile while out-of-pocket payments have minimal catastrophic impact, yet have still been found to be a barrier to utilization. The paper also sets out policy implications of these findings, including the need for the government to focus on, and prioritize, strengthening the health services delivery to achieve universal health coverage.
Empowering Women : The Effect of Women’s Decision-Making Power on Reproductive Health Services Uptake - Evidence from Pakistan( 2011-01-01) Hou, Xiaohui ; Ma, NingA large body of research has attempted to explore the links between women's autonomy and their uptake of reproductive health services in the South Asia region, but the evidence so far is inconclusive. This study uses the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey to examine the influence of household decision making on women's uptake of reproductive health services. The analysis finds that women's decision-making power has a significant positive correlation with reproductive health services uptake and that influential males' decision-making power has the opposite effect, after controlling for socio-economic indicators and supply-side conditions. The findings suggest that empowering women and increasing their ability to make decisions may increase their uptake of reproductive health services. They also suggest that policies directed toward improving women's utilization of maternity services must target men as well as women in Pakistan.
Publication( 2011-10-01) Hou, XiaohuiWhen deciding who should receive welfare benefits with the aim to increase household well-being, it is necessary to understand the effects of the distribution of power within the households at which the aid is directed. Two primary household models have been used to study intra-household bargaining and decision making: the unitary model and the collective model. The unitary model seems to fit Pakistan's context because the prevailing traditional culture positions the male head as the household decision maker. However, using a set of direct measures of decision-making power from the Pakistan Social and Living Standard Measurement Survey, this study finds that even in a country where men seem to have more power than women, the collective household bargaining model applies. This study also finds that, in Pakistan, when women have more decision-making power at home, households tend to spend more on women's preferred goods (such as clothing and education), family members eat more non-grain food items, and children, particularly girls, are more likely to be enrolled in school.
Publication( 2011-01-01) Hou, XiaohuiThis paper analyzes the patterns of and the challenges for youth employment in Pakistan and examines whether these challenges are youth-specific. Using the 2005/2006 Labor Force Survey, the analysis includes determinants of unemployment, determinants of working in the formal sector, rate of return on education, and determinants of working hours. The paper finds that many of the challenges to youth employment in Pakistan are not youth-specific. Policies should thus emphasize broader labor market reforms, even in the context of tackling youth employment issues. Still, some challenges are youth-specific, such as a higher youth unemployment rate and insufficient returns to better-educated youth. To address these challenges, more youth-specific interventions are needed.