Institute for Social and Economic Change

Working Paper: 269

Burden of Income Loss Due to Ailment in India:
Evidence from NSS Data

Amrita Ghatak
S Madheswaran


The main aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of health on labour productivity surrogated by income at the household level. Using data from a nationally representative survey of 73, 868 households conducted from January to June 2004 in India, this paper shows that the burden of income loss due to ailment, which is significantly high in the poorest of the poor in both rural and urban areas, forms a geographic contiguity across the six states of eastern and central India (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal) indicating institutional failures in improving or ensuring the quality of public health. Policy level variables such as the amenities index consisting of information on household level health influencing factors, e.g., availability of latrine, drainage, safe drinking water, clean energy for cooking etc., gender composition of the household reflected in the sex ratio of adult household members in the working ages, average education of the household members, etc., are significant determinants of the burden of income loss due to illness in addition to other socio-demographic factors such as social group, religion and age.

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