Working Paper

Passive Learning and Incentivized Communication: A Randomized Controlled Trial in India

Feb 21, 2018 | Yonas Alem, Eugenie Dugoua

This was created in partnership with Environment for Development .


In order to understand the extent of the information barrier to adoption of a household technology, we designed a randomized controlled trial on willingness to pay (WTP) for solar lanterns in India. We gave high quality solar lanterns to randomly selected `seed' households in a non-electri fied region of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Three friends of the seed household were randomly assigned to one of the following three groups: control, passive learning and incentivized communication. We elicit WTP from the control group when the seed receives the solar lantern. We elicit WTP from the friends in the passive learning and incentivized communication groups thirty days after the seed receives the solar lantern. We show that passive learning increases WTP by 90% and incentivized communication by 145% relative to the control group. We also show that learning from others is the mechanism that drives the observed WTP by peers.