Improving the Use of Health Products: A Sales Experiment with Chlorine Tablets in India
71 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2017 Last revised: 27 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 17, 2018
Many health products have significant benefits and externalities but are under-consumed due to price, information, or other constraints. To mitigate these constraints, organizations frequently promote health products door-to-door. This strategy may screen in households who feel pressured to buy the product without intention of use, however. In this paper, we examine the extent to which households engage in this behavior. We also test another simple marketing change that could increase total use of a targeted product, which in our setting is a package of chlorine tablets for drinking water purification. Specifically, we examine three treatments in which this target good is: (1) sold alone, (2) sold alongside a familiar and cheaper second good that is priced at its retail value (this side good serves as an "opt-out" good to reduce the pressure to buy the target good); and (3) sold alongside the same second good that is priced on a promotional offer. We find that the total use of the chlorine tablets is nearly double in the second condition compared to the other two conditions. Our evidence suggests that household valuation of a new product is shaped by both the presence and the effective price of a side good, which may be important due to their impact on marketing pressure.
Keywords: door-to-door marketing, health, technology adoption, chlorination
JEL Classification: C93, D12, I11, M31, O12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation