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Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali

Author

Listed:
  • Jacopo Bonan

    (FEEM and CMCC)

  • Pietro Battiston

    (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

  • Jaimie Bleck

    (University of Notre Dame)

  • Philippe LeMay-Boucher

    (Heriot Watt University)

  • Stefano Pareglio

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and FEEM)

  • Bassirou Sarr

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Massimo Tavoni

    (Politecnico di Milano and FEEM)

Abstract

We investigate the role of social interaction in technology adoption by conducting a field experiment in neighborhoods of Bamako. We invited women to attend a training/marketing session, where information on a more efficient cooking stove was provided and the chance to purchase the product at market price was offered. We randomly provided an information nudge on a peer’s willingness to buy an improved cookstove. We find that women purchase and use the product more when they receive information on a peer who purchased (or previously owned) the product, particularly if she is viewed as respected. In general, we find positive direct and spillover effects of attending the session. We also investigate whether social interaction plays a role in technology diffusion. We find that women who participated in the session, but did not buy during the intervention, are more likely to adopt the product when more women living around them own it. We investigate the mechanisms and provide evidence supporting imitation effects, rather than social learning or constraint interaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacopo Bonan & Pietro Battiston & Jaimie Bleck & Philippe LeMay-Boucher & Stefano Pareglio & Bassirou Sarr & Massimo Tavoni, 2017. "Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali," Working Papers 2017.47, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2017.47
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    Keywords

    Technology Adoption; Social Interaction; Cookstoves; Mali;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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