Information and health-seeking choices in South Africa

Last registered on May 13, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Information and health-seeking choices in South Africa
Initial registration date
May 03, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 13, 2024, 12:00 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


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Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Reforms that rely on private providers to deliver care are premised on the notions that the effect of market competition will increase efficiency, quality and responsiveness to consumers. However, insights from economic theory provide a more nuanced vision and in particular highlight the importance of considering the responsiveness of the demand side to quality. In settings where quality of services may be difficult to judge by consumers, such as healthcare markets, it is a widely held belief that giving information about provider quality may support and improve the responsiveness of the demand, and therefore the allocative efficiency of the market. Yet there is hardly any evidence of responsiveness of the demand to information and quality in healthcare markets in low- and middle-income settings.
This project will provide experimental evidence on whether the demand for healthcare services is responsive to quality. To test this, we will provide information on quality of providers to parents who have free access to a small network of private providers for their children's care, and observe their choice of providers over a two-month period. Other outcomes will include beliefs about provider quality and willingness-to-pay for a consultation at a top-quality provider.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Lagarde, Mylene. 2024. "Information and health-seeking choices in South Africa." AEA RCT Registry. May 13.
Experimental Details


Simple report card indicating who is the best provider (in terms of technical quality as per the results of a past audit study) in a network of providers to which participants have (free) access to.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Proportion of visits made to the best provider in the network in subsequent visits
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Belief about provider quality
Willingness to pay for a consultation with the best provider
Trust in information provided
Communication with others about quality of providers
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
- Control group: they will be given free access to a small network of private providers for two months.
- Information group: they will be given free access to a small network of private providers for two months and information about the identity of the best provider in the network.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
randomization done in office in STATA
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approximately 200 clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
About 850 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 clusters in the control group, 100 clusters in the information group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Witwatersrand
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number