UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Andrew Crane-Droesch

Variability in observed outcomes within social networks impedes technology diffusion in smallholder agriculture

Date and Location

Monday, May 18, 2015, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Conference Room, 2102 Social Sciences and Humanities


Rural poverty and low agricultural productivity in Africa has been linked to slow technological change. Using a novel dataset from a field experiment in Kenya, I document a causal link between dispersion in observed outcomes to technology adoption within a social network, and low rates of adoption (while positive observed results predict higher adoption). In addition, I find evidence that this dynamic is not explained by the impact of agroecological heterogeneity on learning, which previous literature has shown to make learning more difficult. These results suggest that risk and/or loss aversion in the context of substantial agroecological heterogeneity could play an important role in inhibiting technology diffusion.

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