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

  • Edward Miguel
  • Michael Kremer
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    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).

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    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. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran, 2002. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," CEPR Discussion Papers 3341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    6. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
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