Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali
69 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 30, 2020
Easy-to-use and risk-free technologies, which require little investment and potentially provide health and environmental benefits, often have low adoption rates. Using a randomized experiment in urban Mali, we assess the impact of a training session in which information on an improved cookstove (ICS) is provided along with the opportunity to purchase the product at the market price. We find direct and spillover effects from our invitation to the session on ICS ownership and usage. We then randomly assign half of the training participants to receive information on a peer’s actual purchase. Our results indicate that conditional on receiving information, an individual is more likely to adopt the product if informed about a peer they know and who purchased the product. Our sessions have no discernible impact on product knowledge or household welfare. We argue that social interaction, through imitation, can represent an important channel for increasing take-up and diffusion.
Keywords: Technology Adoption, Social Interaction, Imitation Effects, Cookstoves, Mali
JEL Classification: D91, O33, O13, M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation