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The Diffusion of Information and Behavior in Social Networks: Renewable Energy Technology Adoption in Rural China

Author

Listed:
  • Pan He

    () (ETH Zurich)

  • Marcella Veronesi

    () (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

Abstract

Adopting renewable energy technologies has been seen as a promising way to reduce CO2 emissions and deforestation. This paper investigates how social networks may affect renewable energy technology adoption. We distinguish two channels through which social networks may play a role: (i) the diffusion of information; and (ii) the diffusion of behavior. Most empirical studies fail to quantitatively separate the diffusion of information and behavior in social networks. We conduct a survey on biogas technology adopting in rural China to identify individuals’ egocentric information networks. We find that both the diffusion of information and behavior drive farmers’ technology adoption. Farmers with larger egocentric information networks and a larger fraction of known adopters are more likely to adopt the biogas technology. In addition, we collect data on several attributes of alters to explore the composition of social networks. We find heterogeneous social network effects across different types of alters. Alters who have close relationships with egos such as friends and relatives or that are trusted by egos affect egos’ adoption through the diffusion of information, while less trusted alters such as government officials affect egos’ adoption through their adoption behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Pan He & Marcella Veronesi, 2015. "The Diffusion of Information and Behavior in Social Networks: Renewable Energy Technology Adoption in Rural China," Working Papers 06/2015, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:06/2015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social networks; renewable energy; technology adoption; information diffusion; behavior diffusion; biogas; China;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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