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The Effects of Risk and Ambiguity Aversion on Technology Adoption: Evidence from Aquaculture in Ghana

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  • Christian Crentsil
  • Adelina Gschwandtner

    ()

  • Zaki Wahhaj

Abstract

We study how aversion to risk and ambiguity affects the adoption of new technologies by Ghanaian smallholder aquafarmers. We conduct a set of field experiments designed to elicit farmers's risk and ambiguity preferences and combine it with surveybased information on their technology adoption decisions. We find that aquafarmers who are more risk-averse were quicker to adopt the new technologies: a fast-growing breed of tilapia fish, extruded feed and floating cages. By contrast, ambiguity aversion has no effect on the adoption of the new tilapia breed and extruded feed. Furthermore, it slows down the adoption of floating cages - a technology which entails higher fixed costs than the others - and the effect is diminishing in the number of other adopters in the village. We argue that these differential effects are due to the fact that the technologies are risk-reducing, with potential ambiguity about their payoff distributions at the early stages of adoption. The findings highlight the importance of distinguishing between risk and ambiguity in investigating technology adoption decisions of small-holder farmers in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Crentsil & Adelina Gschwandtner & Zaki Wahhaj, 2018. "The Effects of Risk and Ambiguity Aversion on Technology Adoption: Evidence from Aquaculture in Ghana," Studies in Economics 1814, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:1814
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    Keywords

    Uncertainty Aversion; Aquafarming; Technology Adoption; Extruded Feed; Floating Cages; Akosombo strain of Tilapia (AST);

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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