FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro"
2017.047
Date: 12/9/2017

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


Authors:
Jacopo Bonan (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei): Pietro Battiston (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna); Jaimie Bleck (University of Notre Dame); Philippe LeMay-Boucher (Heriot Watt University); Stefano Pareglio (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Bassirou Sarr (Paris School of Economics); Massimo Tavoni (Politecnico di Milano, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
JEL n.: D03, M31, O13, O33
Keywords: Technology Adoption, Social Interaction, Cookstoves, Mali

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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