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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Networks and Manufacturing Firms in Africa: Results from a Randomized Field Experiment

Marcel Fafchamps, Simon R. Quinn

NBER Working Paper No. 21132
Issued in April 2015
NBER Program(s):Development Economics

We run a novel field experiment to link managers of African manufacturing firms. The experiment features exogenous link formation, exogenous seeding of information, and exogenous assignment to treatment and placebo. We study the impact of the experiment on firm business practices outside of the lab. We find that the experiment successfully created new variation in social networks. We find significant diffusion of business practices only in terms of VAT registration and having a bank current account. This diffusion is a combination of diffusion of innovation and simple imitation. At the time of our experiment, all three studied countries were undergoing large changes in their VAT legislation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21132

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