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Price subsidies and the market for mosquito nets in developing countries: A study of Tanzania's discount voucher scheme


  • Gingrich, Chris D.
  • Hanson, Kara
  • Marchant, Tanya
  • Mulligan, Jo-Ann
  • Mponda, Hadji


This study uses a partial equilibrium simulation model to explore how price subsidies for insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) affect households' purchases of ITNs. The model describes the ITN market in a typical developing country and is applied to the situation in Tanzania, where the Tanzania National Voucher Scheme (TNVS) provides a targeted subsidy to vulnerable population groups by means of a discount voucher. The data for this study come from a nationally-representative household survey completed July-August 2006 covering over 4300 households in 21 districts. The simulation results show the impact of the voucher program on ITN coverage among target households, namely those that experienced the birth of a child. More specifically, the share of target households purchasing an ITN increased from 18 to 62 percent because of the discount voucher. The model also suggests that the voucher program could cause the retail ITN price to rise due to an overall increase in demand. As a result, ITN purchases by households without a voucher may actually decline. The simulation model suggests that additional increases toward the stated goal of 80 percent ITN coverage for pregnant women and children could best be achieved through a combination of "catch up" mass distribution programs and expanding the target group for the voucher program to cover additional households. The model can be employed in other countries considering use of a targeted price subsidy for ITNs, and could be adapted to assess the impact of subsidies for other public health commodities.

Suggested Citation

  • Gingrich, Chris D. & Hanson, Kara & Marchant, Tanya & Mulligan, Jo-Ann & Mponda, Hadji, 2011. "Price subsidies and the market for mosquito nets in developing countries: A study of Tanzania's discount voucher scheme," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 160-168, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:1:p:160-168

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jessica Cohen & Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Free Distribution or Cost-Sharing? Evidence from a Randomized Malaria Prevention Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 1-45.
    2. Pascaline Dupas, 2014. "Short‐Run Subsidies and Long‐Run Adoption of New Health Products: Evidence From a Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 197-228, January.
    3. Akin, John S, et al, 1986. "The Demand for Primary Health Care Services in the Bicol Region of the Philippines," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 755-782, July.
    4. Cropper, Maureen L. & Haile, Mitiku & Lampietti, Julian & Poulos, Christine & Whittington, Dale, 2004. "The demand for a malaria vaccine: evidence from Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 303-318, October.
    5. World Bank, 2007. "World Development Indicators 2007," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8150.
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