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Subsidies for technology adoption: Experimental evidence from rural Cameroon

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  • Meriggi, Niccolò F.
  • Bulte, Erwin
  • Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq

Abstract

We use a two-stage experiment to study how a short-term subsidy for a new product affects uptake, usage, and future demand for the same product (a new solar lamp). We use an auction design to gauge willingness-to-pay, and randomly vary the strike price across villages to create random variation in purchase prices and uptake across villages. Our main results are that subsidies do not adversely affect subsequent product use, but stimulate uptake. If subsidies depress future willingness-to-pay, then this effect is outweighed by additional learning about the benefits of the new product. The net effect is that short-term subsidies increase future willingness-to-pay. However; prices play an important allocative role, and lowering prices via subsidies encourages uptake by households with low use intensity. We do not find any evidence supporting social learning and anchoring beyond the initial sample of beneficiaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Meriggi, Niccolò F. & Bulte, Erwin & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2021. "Subsidies for technology adoption: Experimental evidence from rural Cameroon," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:153:y:2021:i:c:s0304387821000845
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2021.102710
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Solar lamp; Adoption; Learning-by-doing; Sunk cost effect; Anchoring effect; Social learning;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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