The Impacts of Short-Run Free Distribution on Subsequent Consumers' Demand for a Commercial Baby Food in Developing Countries

Last registered on August 01, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Impacts of Short-Run Free Distribution on Subsequent Consumers' Demand for a Commercial Baby Food in Developing Countries
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008005
Initial registration date
July 25, 2021
Last updated
August 01, 2021, 11:30 AM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
The University of Tokyo

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
PI Affiliation
The University of Tokyo

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-08-02
End date
2022-01-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Free distribution of nutritionally fortified complementary food products has been one of the popular approaches for improving infant nutrition in developing countries. In contrast, the market of baby foods is rapidly growing in developing countries nowadays, particularly in Africa. If the prevalence of those products through the market improves infant nutrition, a market-based approach will be a sustainable way to solve infants’ undernutrition.
The free distribution can have two opposite effects on the market-based approach. The negative one is known as an anchoring effect. Free distribution discourages mothers from subsequent purchasing in the market after the end of the intervention. It is because being free makes beneficiaries feel that it is expensive to buy a product in the market. The positive one, on the other hand, is a learning effect, where mothers start purchasing or purchase more after the free distribution as they learn by the experience of using the free products. Credibility for the efficacy of the product is one of the important factors for consumer demand. The free distribution gives mothers a chance to try the product and learn its efficacy.
Whether free distribution is promoting or discouraging the market-based approach depends on which effect is dominant. In other words, if the learning effect is large enough, short-run free distribution can contribute to the success of the market-based approach in the long run. Then we evaluate the impacts of short-run free distribution to mothers of infants on their subsequent demand for baby food.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Annan, Reginald, Satoru Okonogi and Takeshi Sakurai. 2021. "The Impacts of Short-Run Free Distribution on Subsequent Consumers' Demand for a Commercial Baby Food in Developing Countries." AEA RCT Registry. August 01. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8005-1.1
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Our intervention is a short-run free distribution of a particular baby food product.
Intervention Start Date
2021-08-02
Intervention End Date
2021-11-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Mothers' willingness to pay (WTP) for the product
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will collect mothers' WTP using Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Children's weight-for-age Z-score
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We will calculate the weight-for-age Z-score of children following WHO's definition.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We adopt cluster randomization, and we have 12 clusters. We have 4 treatment arms, Control, Treatment 1, Treatment 2, and Treatment 3, and 3 clusters are included in each treatment arm. The differences among the treatment groups are the period of the intervention. We will conduct the free distribution for one, two, and three months in Treatment 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Since we suppose children consume one package per day, we will distribute 30 packages per month to mothers for free.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Administrative zone for public health services for children under 5 years old (known as Child Welfare Clinic (CWC) in Ghana)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
12 zones (CWCs)
Sample size: planned number of observations
480 pairs of mothers and children
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
120 pairs of control, 120 pairs Treatment 1 (one month free distribution), 120 pairs Treatment 2 (two months free distribution), 120 pairs Treatments 3 (three months free distribution)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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