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Using Price Promotions to Drive Children’s Healthy Choices in a Dev


We examine how price discounts—a classic marketing incentive—drive children’s healthy choices in the understudied context of a developing economy. We partnered with UNICEF to launch three field experiments in Panamá among 2,418 children to examine four pillars of price discount promotions for children: What to discount (product selection), how to discount (message design), whom to target (children’s age), and whether to discount again (repetition). We uncovered four previously undocumented insights. First, we found that price discounts alone effectively increase demand among children 6-11 years old, reconciling conflicting findings in prior literature. Second, product selection based on relative price—a particularly crucial factor in developing regions—drives opposing post-promotion effects: Ironically, marketers should not discount expensive healthy options but rather moderately priced ones. Third, different from prior literature’s practice of directly communicating final prices, discount messages that require older children to derive final prices are more effective. Fourth, repetition can amplify or undermine discounts’ efficacy depending on message complexity and children’s age. Our research offers concrete guidelines for researchers and practitioners, uncovering both positive and negative effects of price promotions on children, and shedding light on price promotion interventions that most powerfully nudge children of different ages to act.




Michal Maimaran, Szu-chi Huang, Daniella Kupor

Date Published



Maimaran, Michal, Szu-chi Huang, and Daniella Kupor. 2022. Using Price Promotions to Drive Children’s Healthy Choices in a Dev.


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