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Social Learning and Communication

Author

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  • Ariel BenYishay
  • A. Mushfiq Mobarak

Abstract

Low adoption of agricultural technologies holds large productivity consequences for developing countries. Agricultural extension services counter information failures by deploying external agents to communicate with farmers. However, social networks are recognized as the most credible source of information about new technologies. We incorporate social learning in extension policy using a large-scale field experiment in which we communicate to farmers using different members of social networks. We show that communicator effort is susceptible to small performance incentives, and the social identity of the communicator influences learning and adoption. Farmers find communicators who face agricultural conditions and constraints most comparable to themselves to be the most persuasive. Incorporating communication dynamics can take the influential social learning literature in a more policy-relevant direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Ariel BenYishay & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Social Learning and Communication," NBER Working Papers 20139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20139
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    Cited by:

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    2. Sseruyange, J. & Bulte, E., 2018. "Do Incentives matter for Knowledge Diffusion? Experimental Evidence from Uganda," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 275896, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Eline Bos, 2016. "Leading by Example: What is the effect on educational outcomes of exposing girls, in addition to parents, to female role models?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-37, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    4. Lori Beaman & Ariel BenYishay & Jeremy Magruder & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2021. "Can Network Theory-Based Targeting Increase Technology Adoption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(6), pages 1918-1943, June.
    5. Alem, Yonas & Dugoua, Eugenie, 2018. "Passive Learning and Incentivized Communication: A Randomized Controlled Trial in India," Working Papers in Economics 723, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Heidi Kaila, 2015. "Comparing the development of agricultural technology and information technology in rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 091, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. David Atkin & Azam Chaudhry & Shamyla Chaudry & Amit K. Khandelwal & Eric Verhoogen, 2017. "Organizational Barriers to Technology Adoption: Evidence from Soccer-Ball Producers in Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1101-1164.
    8. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Underinvestment in a Profitable Technology: The Case of Seasonal Migration in Bangladesh," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(5), pages 1671-1748, September.
    9. 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, revised 21 Oct 2019.
    10. Fernando, A. Nilesh, 2021. "Seeking the treated: The impact of mobile extension on farmer information exchange in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    11. Van Campenhout, B. & Spielman, D. & Lecoutere, E., 2018. "The Role of Gender in ICT-mediated Agricultural Information Campaigns," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277438, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. Fisher, Monica & Holden , Stein T. & Katengeza, Samson P., 2017. "The adoption potential of Conservation Agriculture technologies in Malawi: A lead farmer promoter-adopter approach and assessment," CLTS Working Papers 1/17, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies, revised 21 Oct 2019.
    13. Samuel Bazzi & Arya Gaduh & Alexander D. Rothenberg & Maisy Wong, 2016. "Skill Transferability, Migration, and Development: Evidence from Population Resettlement in Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2658-2698, September.
    14. Beyene,Abebe & Bluffstone,Randy & Gebreegzhiaber,Zenebe & Martinsson,Peter & Mekonnen,Alemu & Vieider,Ferdinand, 2015. "Do improved biomass cookstoves reduce fuelwood consumption and carbon emissions ? evidence from rural Ethiopia using a randomized treatment trial with electronic monitoring," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7324, The World Bank.
    15. Sintayehu Hailu Alemu & Luuk Kempen & Ruerd Ruben, 2018. "The Long Shadow of Faith-based Social Networks on Agricultural Performance: Evidence from Ethiopian Apple Growers," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 30(2), pages 297-319, April.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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