Network Structure and the Aggregation of Information: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia
48 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 2012
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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