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The role of opinion leaders in the diffusion of new knowledge: The case of integrated pest management


  • Feder, Gershon
  • Savastano, Sara


The paper reviews the literature on the characteristics and impact of opinion leaders on the diffusion of new knowledge, concluding that there is no clear evidence on whether opinion leaders are more effective if they are similar in socioeconomic attributes to the other farmers rather than superior to would be followers. A multivariate analysis of the changes in integrated pest management knowledge in Indonesia among follower farmers over the period 1991-98 indicates that opinion leaders who are superior to followers, but not excessively so, are more effective in transmitting knowledge. Excessive socioeconomic distance is shown to reduce the effectiveness of diffusion. The paper then derives operational implications of the empirical results.
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  • Feder, Gershon & Savastano, Sara, 2006. "The role of opinion leaders in the diffusion of new knowledge: The case of integrated pest management," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1287-1300, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:34:y:2006:i:7:p:1287-1300

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N., 2001. "Interactions-based models," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 54, pages 3297-3380 Elsevier.
    2. Lockheed, Marlaine E & Jamison, Dean T & Lau, Lawrence J, 1987. "Farmer Education and Farm Efficiency: Reply," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 643-644, April.
    3. Gershon Feder & Roger Slade, 1984. "The Acquisition of Information and the Adoption of New Technology," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 66(3), pages 312-320.
    4. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2010. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 35-69, March.
    5. Sunding, David & Zilberman, David, 2001. "The agricultural innovation process: Research and technology adoption in a changing agricultural sector," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 207-261 Elsevier.
    6. Wiebers, U.C., 1993. "Integrated Pest Management and Pesticide Regulation in Developing Asia," Papers 211, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    7. Gershon Feder & Rinku Murgai & Jaime B. Quizon, 2004. "The Acquisition and Diffusion of Knowledge: The Case of Pest Management Training in Farmer Field Schools, Indonesia," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 221-243.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kondylis, Florence & Mueller, Valerie & Zhu, Jessica, 2017. "Seeing is believing? Evidence from an extension network experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 1-20.
    2. Yamano, T. & Rajendran, S. & Malabayuabas, Maria Luz, 2013. "Psychological Constructs toward Agricultural Technology Adoption: Evidence from Eastern India," 87th Annual Conference, April 8-10, 2013, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 158867, Agricultural Economics Society.
    3. Heidi Hogset & Christopher B. Barrett, 2010. "Social Learning, Social Influence, and Projection Bias: A Caution on Inferences Based on Proxy Reporting of Peer Behavior," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(3), pages 563-589, April.
    4. Sara Savastano & Pasquale Lucio Scandizzo, 2010. "The Adoption and Diffusion of GM Crops in USA: A Real Option Approach," CEIS Research Paper 169, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 20 Jul 2010.
    5. Songsermsawas, Tisorn & Baylis, Kathy & Chhatre, Ashwini & Michelson, Hope, 2016. "Can Peers Improve Agricultural Revenue?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 163-178.
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:137:d:63342 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Maria Chávez Cedeño, 2012. "Innovation behaviour among smallholders: Evidence from the peach value chain in Cochabamba, Bolivia," Journal of Socio-Economics in Agriculture (Until 2015: Yearbook of Socioeconomics in Agriculture), Swiss Society for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, vol. 5(1), pages 223-240.
    8. Jeehong Kim & Wonchang Hur, 2013. "Diffusion of competing innovations in influence networks," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 8(1), pages 109-124, April.
    9. Elisabeth SADOULET, 2016. "Review of Theories of Learning for Adopting," Working Papers P163, FERDI.
    10. Ira Matuschke & Matin Qaim, 2009. "The impact of social networks on hybrid seed adoption in India," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 40(5), pages 493-505, September.
    11. Fisher, Monica & Holden, Stein T. & Katengeza, Samson P., 2017. "Adoption of CA technologies among Followers of Lead Farmers: How Strong is the Influence from Lead Farmers?," CLTS Working Papers 7/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    12. Rajendran, Srinivasulu & Afari-Sefa, Victor & Karanja, Daniel Kimani & Musebe, Richard & Romney, Dannie & Makaranga, Magesa A. & Samali, Silvest & Kessy, Radegunda Francis, 2016. "Farmer-Led Seed Enterprise Initiatives to Access Certified Seed for Traditional African Vegetables and its Effect on Incomes in Tanzania," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 19(1).
    13. Shrimali, Gireesh & Slaski, Xander & Thurber, Mark C. & Zerriffi, Hisham, 2011. "Improved stoves in India: A study of sustainable business models," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7543-7556.
    14. Mueller, Valerie & Billings, Lucy & Mogues, Tewodaj & Peterman, Amber & Wineman, Ayala, 2015. "Filling the legal void? Experimental evidence from a community-based legal aid program for gender-equal land rights in Tanzania:," IFPRI discussion papers 1434, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Jinyang Cai & Guanming Shi & Ruifa Hu, 2016. "An Impact Analysis of Farmer Field School in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-14, February.
    16. repec:spr:ssefpa:v:9:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0707-x is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Elias, Carlos G. & Alwang, Jeffrey Roger, 2008. "Those with blue hair please step forward: An economic theory of group formation and application to Cajas Rurales in Honduras," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6527, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    18. Kondylis, Florence & Mueller, Valerie, 2012. "Seeing is Believing? Evidence from a Demonstration Plot Experiment in Mozambique:," MSSP working papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation


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