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

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  • Michael Kremer
  • Edward Miguel

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-to-child" 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).

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2003. "Networks, social learning, and technology adoption: The case of deworming drugs in kenya," Natural Field Experiments 00312, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00312
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Andrew Healy, 2005. "How Do People Learn by Listening to Others? Experimental Evidence from Thailand," Experimental 0512006, EconWPA.
    3. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Matuschke, Ira, 2008. "Evaluating the impact of social networks in rural innovation systems: An overview," IFPRI discussion papers 816, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Rajesh Chandy & Om Narasimhan, 2015. "Millions of Opportunities: An Agenda for Research in Emerging Markets," Customer Needs and Solutions, Springer;Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Growth (iSIG), vol. 2(4), pages 251-263, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2007. "The Illusion of Sustainability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1007-1065.
    9. Mary Kay Gugerty & Michael Kremer, 2004. "The rockefeller effect," Natural Field Experiments 00263, The Field Experiments Website.
    10. Perkins, Jessica M. & Subramanian, S.V. & Christakis, Nicholas A., 2015. "Social networks and health: A systematic review of sociocentric network studies in low- and middle-income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 60-78.
    11. Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang, 2009. "Observational Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 864-882, June.
    12. Muzhe Yang & Hsien-Ming Lien & Shin-Yi Chou, 2014. "Is There A Physician Peer Effect? Evidence From New Drug Prescriptions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 116-137, January.
    13. Rose Cunningham, 2004. "Investment, Private Information and Social Learning: A Case Study of the Semiconductor Industry," Macroeconomics 0409021, EconWPA.
    14. Rose Cunningham, 2004. "Investment, Private Information, and Social Learning: A Case Study of the Semiconductor Industry," Staff Working Papers 04-32, Bank of Canada.
    15. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2004. "The Illusion of Sustainability," NBER Working Papers 10324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Rocío Moreno-Sánchez & Vanesa Martínez & Jorge H. Maldonado & Arturo Rodríguez, 2018. "Changes in subjective well-being, aspirations and expectations in participants of poverty alleviation programs: A qualitative analysis of Produciendo Por Mi Futuro in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015987, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

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