FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2017 .047

Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali


Authors: Jacopo Bonan, Pietro Battiston, Jaimie Bleck, Philippe LeMay-Boucher, Stefano Pareglio, Bassirou Sarr, Massimo Tavoni
Series: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways
Editor: Massimo Tavoni
Keywords: Technology Adoption, Social Interaction, Cookstoves, Mali
JEL n.: D03, M31, O13, O33

Abstract

We investigate the role of social interaction in technology adoption by conducting a field experiment in neighborhoods of Bamako. We invited women to attend a training/marketing session, where information on a more efficient cooking stove was provided and the chance to purchase the product at market price was offered. We randomly provided an information nudge on a peer’s willingness to buy an improved cookstove. We find that women purchase and use the product more when they receive information on a peer who purchased (or previously owned) the product, particularly if she is viewed as respected. In general, we find positive direct and spillover effects of attending the session. We also investigate whether social interaction plays a role in technology diffusion. We find that women who participated in the session, but did not buy during the intervention, are more likely to adopt the product when more women living around them own it. We investigate the mechanisms and provide evidence supporting imitation effects, rather than social learning or constraint interaction.

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Suggested citation: Bonan, J.,  P. Battiston, J. Bleck, P. LeMay-Boucher, S. Pareglio, B. Sarr, M. Tavoni, (2017), 'Social Interaction and Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Improved Cookstoves in Mali', Nota di Lavoro 47.2017, Milano, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei


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