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Children Are Price Sensitive Too: How Price Promotion Affects Children's Healthy Choices at Elementary Schools


We partnered with UNICEF to launch three field experiments at three elementary schools in Panamá among a total of 2,242 children to test the effectiveness of a classic marketing tool—price promotion—in encouraging children’s choice of healthy options. While prior research suggested that children pay less attention to price compared to other marketing elements such as product (e.g., taste) and packaging, we found a short-term increase in children’s purchase of the promoted healthy options at all three schools; also important, these positive boosts did not last after the promotion ended. We further found that the processing ease of coupon messages led to divergent effects on children’s redemption rates based on (1) their age and (2) repeated exposure to the promotion. This research critically extends prior literature that focused on the effect of price promotion on adults and adolescents, provides novel insight that children can be sensitive to changes in pricing, offers a potential remedy to combat childhood obesity, and isolates the types of messages that would be effective among children of different age groups.


Working Paper


Michal Maimaran, Szu-chi Huang

Date Published



Maimaran, Michal, and Szu-chi Huang. 2020. Children Are Price Sensitive Too: How Price Promotion Affects Children's Healthy Choices at Elementary Schools.


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