PhD Studentship - Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: The (Neglected) Role of Attitudes and Demography

University of Strathclyde - Department of Economics

Our project empirically investigates the demand for health care in Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on two largely neglected factors: demographic trends and attitudes towards institutions.


Candidates are required to have:

  • An excellent undergraduate degree with Honours in a relevant business, scientific/technological, or social science subject;
  • A Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred;
  • Students may also have other relevant experience or skills which are relevant to this project;
  • Candidates who are not native English speakers will be required to provide evidence for their English skills (such as by IELTS or similar tests that are approved by UKVI, or a degree completed in an English speaking country);
  • An ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate experience of the services marketing domain either through study or employment.

Project Details

Over the last 25 years, the world has witnessed unprecedented improvements in living standards; more than 6 million fewer children under five, for instance, died in 2016 than in 1990. However, to sustain progress policy makers face new challenges. Whilst much of the policy focus has been on supply side policies (such as building facilities), the determinants of the demand for health have remained relatively underexplored.

Our project addresses this knowledge gap and empirically investigates the demand for health care in Sub-Saharan Africa. We focus on two largely neglected factors: demographic trends and attitudes towards institutions, such as charity organisations. We propose to use large, representative data to quantify how demography and attitudes shape not only the demand for health services but also the effectiveness of policy interventions. We complement our empirical analysis with a model of healthcare utilisation inspired by contemporary ideas in behavioural economics. In doing so, we hope to be able to propose practical solutions to increase the level of healthcare utilisation.

The analysis proceeds in three steps

  1. The project will provide a careful description of attitudes in Africa.
  2. The project investigates recent demographic trends using census data.
  3. We will link attitudes and demographic trends to health outcomes and policies.

Funding Details

Fee waiver at Home/EU rate and annual stipend approx £14,553.


Dr Marco Alfano, Lecturer in Economics

Dr Alex Dickson, Senior Lecturer in Economics

Contact us

Supervisory Team:

Dr Marco Alfano (

Dr Alex Dickson (

Departmental Administrator: Ms Fiona McIntosh (

Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde

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