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The Combined Role of Subsidy and Awareness in Uptake of Stigmatized Products

Author

Listed:
  • Vinish Shrestha

    (Department of Economics, Towson University)

  • Rashesh Shrestha

    (Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA))

Abstract

Can a combination of common policy interventions better stimulate the demand for health products that are widely available and well-known but whose demand may be curtailed by cultural norms? This paper studies the joint role of awareness and subsidy in increasing the demand for sanitary pads — a product that is ubiquitous but related to social taboo in many countries. We conduct a field experiment in Nepal in which a randomly selected group of women receive menstrual health-related awareness. In addition, both treatment and control groups face a randomly varied effective price for sanitary pads induced through allocation of discount coupons. We find that the awareness treatment shifts the demand curve to the right. Furthermore, the shift is not parallel — the impact is largest at the 50% discount level where the coupon redemption increases by 23 to 26 percentage points. We also find modest spillover effects of the awareness treatment. Our results suggest that combining subsidy with awareness could be a more cost-effective strategy to increase take-up of health technology whose demand is constrained by social stigma.

Suggested Citation

  • Vinish Shrestha & Rashesh Shrestha, 2018. "The Combined Role of Subsidy and Awareness in Uptake of Stigmatized Products," Working Papers 2018-05, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2018-05
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    File URL: http://webapps.towson.edu/cbe/economics/workingpapers/2018-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price subsidies; societal stigma and awareness; estimating elasticity; menstrual health.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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