The Catholic University of America

Quentin Wodon Defense

Final Examination of Quentin Wodon

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Thursday, April 19, 2012 1:30 p.m., Caldwell Room 125


William Barbieri, Ph.D.


Faith, Human Development, and Service Delivery: The Cases of Education and Health in Ghana and Burkina Faso

It is often argued that faith-inspired institutions (FIIs) play in large role in the provision of healthcare and education service in Africa, that they reach the poor in priority, and that they provide more affordable and better services than other service providers.  Yet the empirical evidence to back up such statements is thin.  Building on the analysis of a wide range of surveys and other data sources, this study shows that the market share of FIIs is (much) lower than commonly believed, and that FIIs do not reach the poor more than public facilities, even if they make efforts to do so, although they do reach the poor more than private secular providers. The cost for households of the services provided by FIIs is often at least as high as that of public providers, but lower than that of private secular providers. When FIIs benefit from external support, they are better able to make their services affordable for the poor. The satisfaction of users with the services provided by FIIs is often higher than for public facilities, with respect for users and attention to their needs on the part of the staffs of FIIs playing a key role for higher satisfaction. While faith is not a major factor affecting the choice of healthcare facilities by households, it does influence strongly the choice of schools, especially among Muslim populations. Finally, many of the results are context-specific, highlighting the need for detailed country level work in this area.