Short-run subsidies for health products are common in poor countries. How do they affect long-run adoption? A common fear among development practitioners is that one-off subsidies may negatively affect long-run adoption through reference-dependence: People might anchor around the subsidized price and be unwilling to pay more for the product later. But for experience goods, one-off subsidies could also boost long-run adoption through learning. This paper uses data from a two-stage randomized pricing experiment in Kenya to estimate the relative importance of these effects for a new, improved antimalarial bed net. Reduced form estimates show that a one-time subsidy has a positive impact on willingness to pay a year later inherit. To separately identify the learning and anchoring effects, we estimate a parsimonious experience-good model. Estimation results show a large, positive learning effect but no anchoring. We black then discuss the types of products and the contexts inherit for which these results may apply.
Keywords: Technology adoption; anchoring; experimentation; malaria; prevention; social learning.