Network Structure and the Aggregation of Information: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia
We use unique data from 600 Indonesian communities on what individuals know about the poverty status of others to study how network structure influences information aggregation. We develop a model of semi-Bayesian learning on networks, which we structurally estimate using within-village data. The model generates qualitative predictions about how cross-village patterns of learning relate to different network structures, which we show are borne out in the data. We apply our findings to a community-based targeting program, where villagers chose which households should receive aid, and show that networks the model predicts to be more diffusive differentially benefit from community targeting.
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A data appendix is available at http://www.nber.org/data-appendix/w18351
This paper was revised on May 30, 2014
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18351
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