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Adoption with Social Learning and Network Externalities

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  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Mans Soderbom
  • Monique vanden Boogaart

Abstract

Using a large administrate dataset covering the universe of phone calls and airtime transfers in a country over a four year period, we examine the pattern of adoption of airtime transfers over time. We start by documenting strong network effects: increased usage of the new airtime transfer service by social neighbors predicts a higher adoption probability. We then seek to narrow down the possible sources of these network effects by distinguishing between network externalities and social learning. Within social learning, we also seek to differentiate between learning about existence of the new product from learning about its quality or usefulness. We find robust evidence suggestive of social learning both for the existence and the quality of the product. In contrast, we find that network effects turn negative after first adoption, suggesting that airtime transfers are strategic substitutes among network neighbors.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Fafchamps & Mans Soderbom & Monique vanden Boogaart, 2016. "Adoption with Social Learning and Network Externalities," NBER Working Papers 22282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22282
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Jack & Tavneet Suri, 2014. "Risk Sharing and Transactions Costs: Evidence from Kenya's Mobile Money Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(1), pages 183-223, January.
    2. Jenny C. Aker, 2010. "Information from Markets Near and Far: Mobile Phones and Agricultural Markets in Niger," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 46-59, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • 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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