While the contributions of immunization to fighting infectious diseases have been widely recognized, economists have paid little attention to the determinants of immunization uptake. In this paper, we first develop an intuitive theoretical model of the demand for immunization services. A novel prediction of our model is that the presence of an easily accessible health facility does not necessarily raise the immunization rate of the community as it reduces both the cost and benefits of immunization. In the empirical work we try to control for the potential bias introduced by the endogeneity of “child quantity”. Our analysis shows that the number of siblings depends heavily on the degree of enforcement of the one-child policy. Therefore, the enforcement measures of this policy can be used as instruments for child quantity. However, our results show that the number of siblings does not affect a child's immunization uptake. The most important factor to a child immunization uptake is health insurance coverage. Given the lower health coverage rate in rural China, our findings thus suggest that the immunization rate can benefit from health policies aiming to broaden health insurance coverage. The other two factors that affect immunization uptake are parental education and family income, suggesting that a country's immunization rate increases as its citizens become richer and better educated.

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Keywords Immunization, Parental education
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1142/9789812814425_0014
Blomqvist, Å, & Liu, H. (Haoming). (2010). Immunization uptake in China. In Investing in Human Capital for Economic Development in China (pp. 241–260). doi:10.1142/9789812814425_0014