Heterogeneous information exposure and technology adoption: the case of tissue culture bananas in Kenya
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Classical innovation adoption models implicitly assume homogenous information flow across farmers, which is often not realistic. As a result, selection bias in adoption parameters may occur. We focus on tissue culture (TC) banana technology that was introduced in Kenya more than 10 years ago. Up till now, adoption rates have remained relatively low. We employ the average treatment effects approach to account for selection bias and extend it by explicitly differentiating between awareness exposure (having heard of a technology) and knowledge exposure (understanding the attributes of a technology). Using a sample of Kenyan banana farmers, we find that estimated adoption parameters differ little when comparing the classical adoption model with one that corrects for heterogeneous awareness exposure. However, parameters differ considerably when accounting for heterogeneous knowledge exposure. This is plausible: while many farmers have heard about TC technology, its successful use requires notable changes in cultivation practices, and proper understanding is not yet very widespread. These results are also important for other technologies that are knowledge-intensive and require considerable adjustments in traditional practices.
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