Health economics, consumer choice, economic cost, explicit cost, public health


Menstrual cycles are an integral part of a nearly two-third of a woman’s life, and occur every month. Menstruation is a public health concern because irrespective of whether a woman can afford hygienic absorbents or not, she undergoes menstruation phase every month. Therefore, menstruation requires to be examined from public health policy perspective. Choice of menstrual products is not only subject to budget constraint but also to “other regarding preferences”, as can be explained by behavioural economics theories. This study therefore, seeks to get insights into the determinants of choice of menstrual product. The study attempts to devise a method of estimating the minimum yearly cost of menstrual hygiene and also provides an estimate for the same, which can be helpful for the policy prescription. The study is undertaken in Gujarat (India), from a cross-section of districts (developed, developing and tribal), and also a cross-section of socioeconomic status and age. A total of 1025 responses are collected and analysed to get insights into product preferences and resultant cost. The study finds that it is economical to make use of menstrual cups, however, cultural constrains might restrict its use.