UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Dinara Akchurina, INSEAD, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Study Before Play: Pairing Educational and Entertaining Content to Align Usage and Purchase Decisions’.
The purchase and usage of products and services are frequently not driven by the same motives, in part because in many categories the user is not the buyer. In this paper, we study usage and purchase decisions in the context of an online educational platform for children, where the completion of math lessons is rewarded with access to entertaining activities. To explain usage, we develop a multiple discrete-continuous time allocation model that accounts for the existence of a conditional activity, i.e., when the completion of one activity – a lesson – allows access to another activity – a game. The child’s usage decisions in turn influence their parent’s subscription decision. We estimate the model on data from two online field experiments involving more than 21,000 pairs of children and parents. In counterfactual simulations, we show that alternative customized product configurations, such as increased time of core math content and limiting access to games, can reduce the misalignment between parent and child preferences, leading to increases in subscriptions of around 10%, without a significant decrease in child participation.