Female social networks and learning about a new technology in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India

Despite evidence of the importance of differences in the source and type of information that women and men acquire, there is a persistent assumption that these gender dimensions of information acquisition are irrelevant to decision-making in cereal systems in South Asia. Yet women do play a fundamental role in many agricultural decisions and thus have a stake in the choice of technologies selected by the household. The paper attempts to understand women’s involvement in agricultural female networks and if they learn about a new agricultural technology, laser land leveling, through their social networks. Further, the study analyzes whether these female network effects have any influence on household demand for the new technology. Data for this study was collected as part of a research project on laser land leveling in 24 villages drawn randomly from three districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, India. A binding experimental auction was conducted to elicit demand for a new technology, laser land leveling (LLL), with a randomly selected group of farmers, of which 80 percent were male household heads. The study finds evidence that factors that shape farmers’ wives networks are very different from those that shape links between their husbands. Overall, women who are poorer and less educated tend to have more agricultural information contacts than wealthier and more educated women. We find that if a wife has an adopting wife in her network, her husband bid Rs. 81 more in the auction than if she did not. While we cannot say that the network effect through the wives is stronger, we can say there is evidence that there are separate and significant male and female network effects.

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 Record created 2017-08-04, last modified 2017-08-27

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