Multivariate causal attribution and cost-effectiveness of a national mass media campaign in the Philippines.

Kincaid DL; Do MP
Journal of Health Communication. 2006; 11 Suppl 2:69-90.

Cost-effectiveness analysis is based on a simple formula. A dollar estimate of the total cost to conduct a program is divided by the number of people estimated to have been affected by it in terms of some intended outcome. The direct, total costs of most communication campaigns are usually available. Estimating the amount of effect that can be attributed to the communication alone, however is problematical in full-coverage, mass media campaigns where the randomized control group design is not feasible. Single-equation, multiple regression analysis controls for confounding variables but does not adequately address the issue of causal attribution. In this article, multivariate causal attribution (MCA) methods are applied to data from a sample survey of 1,516 married women in the Philippines to obtain a valid measure of the number of new adopters of modem contraceptives that can be causally attributed to a national mass media campaign and to calculate its cost-effectiveness. The MCA analysis uses structural equation modeling to test the causal pathways and to test for endogeneity, biprobit analysis to test for direct effects of the campaign and endogeneity, and propensity score matching to create a statistically equivalent, matched control group that approximates the results that would have been obtained from a randomized control group design. The MCA results support the conclusion that the observed, 6.4 percentage point increase in modern contraceptive use can be attributed to the national mass media campaign and to its indirect effects on attitudes toward contraceptives. This net increase represented 348,695 new adopters in the population of married women at a cost of U.S. $1.57 per new adopter. (author's)

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