NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Ariel BenYishay

Economics Department
College of William & Mary
Williamsburg VA 23185

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: College of William & Mary

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2018Can Network Theory-based Targeting Increase Technology Adoption?
with Lori Beaman, Jeremy Magruder, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak: w24912
In order to induce farmers to adopt a productive new agricultural technology, we apply simple and complex contagion diffusion models on rich social network data from 200 villages in Malawi to identify seed farmers to target and train on the new technology. A randomized controlled trial compares these theory-driven network targeting approaches to simpler strategies that either rely on a government extension worker or an easily measurable proxy for the social network (geographic distance between households) to identify seed farmers. Our results indicate that technology diffusion is characterized by a complex contagion learning environment in which most farmers need to learn from multiple people before they adopt themselves. Network theory based targeting can out-perform traditional approa...
May 2014Social Learning and Communication
with A. Mushfiq Mobarak: w20139
Low adoption of agricultural technologies holds large productivity consequences for developing countries. Agricultural extension services counter information failures by deploying external agents to communicate with farmers. However, social networks are recognized as the most credible source of information about new technologies. We incorporate social learning in extension policy using a large-scale field experiment in which we communicate to farmers using different members of social networks. We show that communicator effort is susceptible to small performance incentives, and the social identity of the communicator influences learning and adoption. Farmers find communicators who face agricultural conditions and constraints most comparable to themselves to be the most persuasive. Inco...
 
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