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Networks, social learning, and technology adoption: The case of deworming drugs in kenya

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  • Edward Miguel
  • Michael Kremer
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    Abstract

    We examine social learning using data from a program that promoted use of deworming medicine in Kenyan schools. These drugs kill worms in the body; although people are soon reinfected, treatment interferes with the cycle of transmission, generating positive externalities. Individuals randomly exposed to more information about deworming drugs through their social network were significantly less likely to take the drugs and more likely to believe the drugs are “not effective.” This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that those exposed to the program had overly optimistic prior beliefs about net private drug benefits. The combination of strong social effects and extensive social networks among teenagers implies that a “child-tochild” public health approach focused on teenagers will speed social learning. There are large differences between social effect estimates relying on experimental variation (negative estimates) and nonexperimental methods (positive estimates).

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    File URL: http://karlan.yale.edu/fieldexperiments/papers/00312.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00312.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00312

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    1. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    2. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Home Pages _068, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran, 2002. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," CEPR Discussion Papers 3341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
    5. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere Behrman & Susan Watkins, 2001. "The density of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from south nyanza district, kenya," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 43-58, February.
    6. Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model Of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2004. "The Illusion of Sustainability," Working Papers 35, Center for Global Development.
    2. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2004. "The illusion of sustainability," Natural Field Experiments 00287, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Andrew Healy, 2005. "How Do People Learn by Listening to Others? Experimental Evidence from Thailand," Experimental 0512006, EconWPA.
    4. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2007. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," CEPR Discussion Papers 6059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Mary-Françoise Renard & Huanxiu GUO, 2013. "Social activity and collective action for agricultural innovation: a case study of New Rural Reconstruction in China," Working Papers halshs-00802119, HAL.
    6. Mary Kay Gugerty & Michael Kremer, 2004. "The rockefeller effect," Natural Field Experiments 00263, The Field Experiments Website.
    7. Bernard, Tanguy & Dercon, Stefan & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2011. "Beyond fatalism: An empirical exploration of self-efficacy and aspirations failure in Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 1101, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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