Does Price Affect the Demand for Information About New Health Technologies?

Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria

Published in: Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2016

Posted on RAND.org on February 19, 2016

by Edward N. Okeke, Amalavoyal V. Chari, Clement A. Adepiti

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We study how pricing subsidies influence the demand for information about a new preventative health technology. We conducted a field experiment in Nigeria where women were offered the opportunity to get screened for cervical cancer (at baseline 2/3 of women had no knowledge of cervical cancer screening). Field staff made house calls to give women information about the test, and also distributed vouchers that randomly varied the price of screening at the point of service. We study the demand for information in this context, and how it interacts with prices. We find an inverse U-shaped relationship between price and the demand for information. We show that going from zero to a small positive price increases the demand for information about the test, but increasing the price further (by 100%), results in a net decrease in the demand for information. We show that this result is driven by women who perceive themselves as having a higher risk of developing the disease. We argue that these results have interesting implications for the ongoing debate about the pricing of preventative technologies in developing countries.

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