de Walque, Damien

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Education, Macroeconomic and Structural Policies, Health
Development Research Group
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Last updated September 26, 2023
Damien de Walque received his Economics from the University of Chicago in 2003. His research interests include health and education and the interactions between them. His current work is focused on evaluating the impact of financial incentives on health and education outcomes. He is currently evaluating the education and health outcomes of conditional cash transfers linked to school attendance and health center visits in Burkina Faso. He is also working on evaluating the impact of HIV/AIDS interventions and policies in several African countries. He is leading two evaluations of the impact of short-term financial incentives on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs): individuals who test negatively for a set of STIs receive regular cash payment in Tanzania, while in Lesotho they receive lottery tickets. On the supply side of health services, he is managing a large portfolio of impact evaluations of results-based financing in the health sector. He has also edited a book on risky behaviors for health (smoking, drugs, alcohol, obesity, risky sex) in the developing world.
Citations 578 Scopus

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    Looking into the performance-based financing black box: Evidence from an impact evaluation in the health sector in Cameroon
    (Oxford University Press, 2021-07) de Walque, Damien ; Robyn, Paul Jacob ; Saidou, Hamadou ; Sorgho, Gaston ; Steenland, Maria
    Performance-based financing (PBF) is a complex health systems intervention aimed at improving the coverage and quality of care. Several studies have shown a positive impact of PBF on health service coverage, often coupled with improvements in quality, but relatively little is known about the mechanisms driving those results. This article presents results of a randomized impact evaluation in Cameroon designed to isolate the role of specific components of the PBF approach with four study groups: (i) PBF with explicit financial incentives linked to results, (ii) direct financing with additional resources available for health providers not linked to performance, (iii) enhanced supervision and monitoring without additional resources and (iv) a control group. Overall, results indicate that, when compared with the pure control group, PBF in Cameroon led to significant increases in utilization for several services (child and maternal vaccinations, use of modern family planning), but not for others like antenatal care visits and facility-based deliveries. In terms of quality, PBF increased the availability of inputs and equipment, qualified health workers, led to a reduction in formal and informal user fees but did not affect the content of care. However, for many positively impacted outcomes, the differences between the PBF group and the group receiving additional financing not linked to performance are not significant, suggesting that additional funding rather than the explicit incentives might be driving improvements. In contrast, the intervention group offering enhanced supervision, coaching and monitoring without additional funding did not experience significant impacts compared to the control group.