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Innovation Diffusion in Heterogeneous Populations: Contagion, Social Influence, and Social Learning

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  • H. Peyton Young
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    Abstract

    New ideas, products, and practices take time to diffuse, a fact that is often attributed to some form of heterogeneity among potential adopters. This paper examines three broad classes of diffusion models -- contagion, social influence, and social learning -- and shows how to incorporate heterogeneity into each at a high level of generality without losing analytical tractability. Each type of model leaves a characteristic "footprint" on the shape of the adoption curve which provides a basis for discriminating empirically between them. The approach is illustrated using the classic study of Ryan and Gross (1943) on the diffusion of hybrid corn. (JEL D83, O33, Q16, Z13)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 5 (December)
    Pages: 1899-1924

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:5:p:1899-1924

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.5.1899
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    Cited by:
    1. Waters, James, 2013. "The influence of information sources on inter- and intra-firm diffusion: evidence from UK farming," MPRA Paper 50955, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Heutel, Garth & Muehlegger, Erich, 2010. "Consumer Learning and Hybrid Vehicle Adoption," Working Paper Series rwp10-013, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Paul Dolan & Robert Metcalfe, 2013. "Neighbors, Knowledge, and Nuggets: Two Natural Field Experiments on the Role of Incentives on Energy Conservation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1222, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Mario Coccia, 2013. "Population and technological innovation: the optimal interaction across modern countries," CERIS Working Paper 201307, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO).
    5. Cantono, Simona, 2012. "Unveiling diffusion dynamics: an autocatalytic percolation model of environmental innovation diffusion and the optimal dynamic path of adoption subsidies," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201222, University of Turin.
    6. Miriam Steurer & Robert J. Hill & Markus Zahrnhofer & Christian Hartmann, 2012. "Modelling the Emergence of New Technologies using S-Curve Diffusion Models," Graz Economics Papers 2012-05, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
    7. Richter, Andries & van Soest, Daan & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "Contagious cooperation, temptation, and ecosystem collapse," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 141-158.
    8. Giovanni Pegoretti & Francesco Rentocchini & Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti, 2012. "An agent-based model of innovation diffusion: network structure and coexistence under different information regimes," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 145-165, October.
    9. Pongou, Roland & Serrano, Roberto, 2013. "Dynamic Network Formation in Two-Sided Economies," MPRA Paper 46021, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Francesco Bogliacino & Giorgio Rampa, 2009. "Quality Risk Aversion, Conjectures, and New Product Diffusion," Quaderni di Dipartimento 092, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods.
    11. López-Pintado, Dunia, 2012. "Influence networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 776-787.
    12. Richter, Andries & Grasman, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of sustainable harvesting norms when agents are conditionally cooperative," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 202-209.
    13. Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, 2012. "Crises and collective socio-economic phenomena: simple models and challenges," Papers 1209.0453, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2012.
    14. Kaufman, Noah, 2014. "Overcoming the barriers to the market performance of green consumer goods," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 487-507.
    15. David H. Howard & Yu-Chu Shen, 2011. "Comparative Effectiveness Research, COURAGE, and Technological Abandonment," NBER Working Papers 17371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Lafond, Francois, 2013. "Self-organization of knowledge economies," MERIT Working Papers 040, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    17. Lelarge, Marc, 2012. "Diffusion and cascading behavior in random networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 752-775.

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