This project uses a randomized controlled trial to explore strategies of promoting new technologies using the power of social influence. The randomized controlled trial varied the dissemination method for two new agricultural technologies across villages in Malawi. The role of main communicator about the new technology was assigned to government-employed extension workers, 'lead farmers' (LF) who are educated and able to sustain experimentation costs, or 'peer farmers,' (PF) who are more representative of the general population and whose experiences may be more applicable to the average recipient farmer's own conditions. Random subsets of these communicators were offered performance-based incentives in the experimental design.
The LF and PF cells (95 villages total) were cross-randomized such that approximately half the villages (48) were encouraged to select a female lead farmer or majority female peer farmers. In the other 47 villages, no such encouragement was provided. The gender reservation encouragement was cross-randomized orthogonally, so that the the LF/PF x Incentive treatments were balanced with respect to the gender reservation assignment. Please see BenYishay and Mobarak, "Social Learning and Incentives for Experimentation and Communication," http://faculty.som.yale.edu/MushfiqMobarak/papers/MalawiAg.pdf for further details. A. BenYishay, M. Jones, F. Kondylis, A. M. Mobarak, "Are Gender Differences in Performance Innate or Socially Mediated?"http://faculty.som.yale.edu/MushfiqMobarak/papers/GenderMalawi.pdf also provides greater details on the details of this cross-cutting treatment.