Information Networks Among Women and Men and the Demand for an Agricultural Technology in India
32 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2015
Date Written: January 30, 2015
Although there is ample evidence of differences in how and where men and women acquire information, most research on learning and household decisionmaking only considers access to information for a single, typically male, household head. This assumption may be problematic in developing-country agriculture, where women play a fundamental role in farming. Using gender-disaggregated social network data from Uttar Pradesh, India, we analyze agricultural information networks among men and women. We test for gender-specific network effects on demand for laser land leveling - a resource-conserving technology - using data from a field experiment that combines a Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) auction with a lottery. We find that factors determining male and female links are similar, although there is little overlap between male and female networks. We find some evidence of female network effects on household technology demand, although male network effects are clearly stronger. Public and private efforts to promote technological change in smallholder agriculture often rely on social networks to transmit information across large numbers of farmers. Our results indicate that extension services can leverage female networks in order to reach more households when promoting new technologies.
Keywords: social network analysis, peer effects, technology adoption, learning externalities, India
JEL Classification: D80, Q12, Q16
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