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Information, Technology Adoption and Productivity: The Role of Mobile Phones in Agriculture

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  • Apoorv Gupta
  • Jacopo Ponticelli
  • Andrea Tesei

Abstract

We study the effect of information on technology adoption and productivity in agriculture. Our empirical strategy exploits the expansion of the mobile phone network in previously uncovered areas of rural India coupled with the availability of call centers for agricultural advice. We measure information on agricultural practices by analyzing the content of 2.5 million phone calls made by farmers to one of India's leading call centers for agricultural advice. We find that areas receiving coverage from new towers and with no language barriers between farmers and advisers answering their calls experience higher adoption of high yielding varieties of seeds and other complementary inputs, as well as higher increase in agricultural productivity. Our estimates indicate that information frictions can explain around 25 percent of the agricultural productivity gap between the most productive and the least productive areas in our sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Apoorv Gupta & Jacopo Ponticelli & Andrea Tesei, 2020. "Information, Technology Adoption and Productivity: The Role of Mobile Phones in Agriculture," NBER Working Papers 27192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27192
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    Cited by:

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    2. Vanden Eynde, Oliver & Wren-Lewis, Liam, 2021. "Complementarities in Infrastructure: Evidence from Rural India," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 2104, CEPREMAP.
    3. Dar, Manzoor & de Janvry, Alain & Emerick, Kyle & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Wiseman, Eleanor, 2020. "Private Input Suppliers as Information Agents for Technology Adoption in Agriculture," CEPR Discussion Papers 15584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Smits, Joeri & Sun, Qigang, 2020. "Contract structure, time preference, and technology adoption," GLO Discussion Paper Series 633, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Abidoye, Babatunde & Dissanayake, Sahan T.M. & Jacobson, Sarah A., 2021. "Seeds of Learning: Uncertainty and Technology Adoption in an Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Game," Applied Economics Teaching Resources (AETR), Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 3(3), September.
    6. Hanna Godlewska-Majkowska & Agnieszka Komor, 2021. "Energy as a Factor of Investment Attractiveness of Regions for Agricultural Enterprises," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(9), pages 1-24, May.
    7. Ou, Susan & Xiong, Heyu, 2021. "Mass persuasion and the ideological origins of the Chinese Cultural Revolution," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    8. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Smits, Joeri & Sun, Qigang, 2020. "Contract Structure, Time Preference, and Technology Adoption," IZA Discussion Papers 13590, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Mensah,Justice Tei & Hirfrfot,Kibrom Tafere & Abay,Kibrom A., 2022. "Saving Lives through Technology : Mobile Phones and Infant Mortality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9978, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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