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Some hypotheses about the timing of farmers becoming aware of an innovation and the subsequent decision to use that innovation are derived from a recently developed, decision-theoretic model of the adoption process. They are tested using empirical evidence on the time taken by early adopters of trace element fertilisers in S.A. to discover and decide to use this innovation. The central role of information search in the adoption process is emphasised and it is postulated that various distance measures provide a useful measure of information availability and reliability. The results of the empirical analysis are consistent with the hypothesised relationships. Another finding is the importance of distinguishing between early adopters who are genuinely innovative, and those potential later adopters who adopt early because they happen, by chance, to operate a farm in close proximity to another early adopter.


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