© 2019 The Author(s). Spatial weight matrices play a key role in econometrics to capture spatial effects. However, these constructs are prone to clustering and can be challenging to analyse in common statistical packages such as STATA. Multiple observations of survey participants in the same location (or cluster) have traditionally not been dealt with appropriately by statistical packages. It is common that participants are assigned Geographic Information System (GIS) data at a regional or district level rather than at a small area level. For example, the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) generates GIS data at a cluster level, such as a regional or district level, rather than providing coordinates for each participant. Moreover, current statistical packages are not suitable for estimating large matrices such as 20,000 × 20,000 (reflective of data within large health surveys) since the statistical package limits the N to a smaller number. In addition, in many cases, GIS information is offered at an aggregated level of geographical areas. To alleviate this problem, this paper proposes a bootstrap approach that generates an inverse distance spatial weight matrix for application in econometric analyses of health survey data. The new approach is illustrated using DHS data on uptake of HIV testing in low and middle income countries.
International Journal of Health Geographics