Mobilizing P2P Diffusion for New Agricultural Practices: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh

HKUST IEMS Working Papers No. 2021-78


Marcel Fafchamps, Asad Islam, Abdul Malek and Debayan Pakrashi

We run a randomized controlled experiment in which farmers trained on a new rice cultivation method teach two other farmers selected by us. We find that the intervention increases yields and farm profits among treated farmers. Teacher-trainees are effective at spreading knowledge and inducing adoption relative to just training. Incentivizing teacher- trainees improves knowledge transmission but not adoption. Matching teacher-trainees with farmers who list them as role models does not improve knowledge transmission and may hurt adoption. Using mediation analysis, we find that the knowledge of the teacher-trainee is correlated with that of their students, consistent with knowledge transmission. We also find that SRI knowledge predicts adoption of some SRI practices, and that adoption by teacher-trainees predicts adoption by their students, suggesting that students follow the example of their teacher. With cost-benefit estimates of social returns in excess of 100%, explicitly mobilizing peer-to-peer (P2P) transmission of knowledge seems a cost-effective way of inducing the adoption of new profitable agricultural practices.  

This version is updated on 27 January 2021 (Hong Kong time). 

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