Social Learning and Communication

70 Pages Posted: 19 May 2014

See all articles by Ariel BenYishay

Ariel BenYishay

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak

Yale School of Management; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

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. Incorporating communication dynamics can take the influential social learning literature in a more policy-relevant direction.

Suggested Citation

BenYishay, Ariel and Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, Social Learning and Communication (May 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20139. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2438560

Ariel BenYishay (Contact Author)

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics ( email )

Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States
203-432-5787 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mba.yale.edu/faculty/profiles/mobarak.shtml

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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