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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Endogenous Information Sharing and the Gains from Using Network Information to Maximize Technology Adoption

  • Author(s): Dar, Manzoor H.
  • de Janvry, Alain
  • Emerick, Kyle
  • Kelley, Erin M.
  • Sadoulet, Elisabeth
  • et al.
Abstract

Can agents in a social network be induced to obtain information from outside their peer groups? Using a field experiment in rural Bangladesh, we show that demonstration plots in agriculture - a technique where the first users of a new variety cultivate it in a side-by-side comparison with an existing variety - facilitate social learning by inducing conversations and information sharing outside of existing social networks. We compare these improvements in learning with those from seeding new technology with more central farmers in village social networks. The demonstration plots - when cultivated by randomly selected farmers - improve knowledge by just as much as seeding with more central farmers. Moreover, the demonstration plots only induce conversations and facilitate learning for farmers that were unconnected to entry points at baseline. Finally, we combine this diffusion experiment with an impact experiment to show that both demonstration plots and improved seeding transmit information to farmers that are less likely to benefit from the new innovation.

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