Social learning in agriculture: Experimental evidence from Malawi


Published 03.06.20
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Can policymakers speed up the adoption of modern agricultural technologies through peer-to-peer learning?

Learning from people one trusts is a crucial way in which ideas travel across much of the developing world. However, harnessing this type of social learning to improve the lives of citizens remains elusive for policymakers in many developing countries. In this VoxDev talk, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak discusses an innovative experiment in rural Malawi, analysing social learning and the adoption of modern agricultural technologies. The experiment involves identifying ‘lead’ farmers in villages, teaching them about a new technology, and giving them the responsibility to teach others in their communities. Fascinatingly, the researchers find increases in the adoption of modern agricultural technologies, but only when the ‘lead’ farmer is given a small incentive to disseminate the information.