Movies, Margins and Marketing: Encouraging the Adoption of Iron-Fortified Salt

Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Sharon Barnhardt

NBER Working Paper No. 21616
Issued in October 2015
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics

A set of randomized experiments shed light on how markets and information influence household decisions to adopt nutritional innovations. Of 400 Indian villages, we randomly assigned half to an intervention where all shopkeepers were offered the option to sell a new salt, fortified with both iron and iodine (and not just iodine) at 50% discount. Within treatment villages, we conducted additional interventions: an increase in retailer margin (for one or several shopkeepers), the screening of an “edutainment” movie on the benefits of double-fortified salt, a flyer informing households of the product’s availability, and free distribution to a subset of households. We find that two interventions – showing the short film and offering an incentive to all shopkeepers – significantly increased usage: both by 5.5 percentage points, or over 50%, over take up without intervention, three years after launch. For comparison, only about half of households given the salt for free actually consumed it.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21616

Published: Movies, Margins, and Marketing: Encouraging the Adoption of Iron-Fortified Salt, Abhijit Banerjee, Sharon Barnhardt, Esther Duflo. in Insights in the Economics of Aging, Wise. 2017

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