Many children in low- and middle-income countries are growing up during a rapid nutrition transition. Experimental evidence on food choice in developing countries is scarce, while it is unclear to what extent evidence from high-income countries can be generalized. Children participated in a snack choice experiment. We expose some children to emoji labels encouraging healthy snacks, while others observe healthy or unhealthy snacking by peers. While emoji labels moderately promote healthy snacking, the adverse effect of observing a peer eating the unhealthy snack is very large. The effect associated with observing a healthy peer is insignificant. Additionally, cross-randomized blocks of children watched a nutrition video to study the interaction of information provision and nudging. The video independently improves healthy choices but does not aid the emoji nudge and cannot counter the strong negative peer effect. We compare our findings to studies conducted in developed countries and discuss policy implications.</p>

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Journal of Health Economics
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

de Vries Mecheva, M., Rieger, M., Sparrow, R., Erfi Prafiantini, & Rina Agustina. (2021). Snacks, nudges and asymmetric peer influence. Journal of Health Economics, 79. doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2021.102508