Tuesday, August 2
8:30 am - 9:30 am
"Information acquisition and the adoption of improved crop varieties"
Abstract: In many developing countries, inadequate information on the benefits of and knowledge about innovative agricultural technologies continue to be a major constraint to technology adoption among smallholder farmers. The low adoption of new technologies is one of the causes of low productivity and high poverty incidence among smallholder farmers, particularly in Africa. Extension services are underfunded and weak and ineffective at serving the needs of widely dispersed smallholder farmers, making inadequate their access to information about new technologies. Although the empirical and theoretical literature demonstrate the significance of information diffusion through extension services and farmers' social networks, I contend that the diffusion potential of social networks is under-explored. In particular, the extent to which network structural characteristics such as modularity (segmentation within communities), transitivity (credibility of the information), and centrality (effectiveness and efficiency of the amount of information flow) affect information acquisition and technology diffusion has not been empirically examined. However, the diffusion rate of a new technology will be different across communities, if transitivity and modularity of the networks, which condition information externalities, vary across these communities. This presentation develops a simple model to examine how these network characteristics influence technology diffusion. This is particularly significant, because centrality and transitivity depend on the extent of modularity. Experimental and observational data from two African countries demonstrate the impact of social networks on the diffusion of improved crop varieties and crop yields.
Bio: Awudu Abdulai is currently Professor of Food Economics and Food Policy, and Director of the Institute of Food Economics and Consumption Studies at the University of Kiel. He previously served on the faculty at ETH-Zurich and has been a visiting scholar at Iowa Stata, Yale, and Stanford. Awudu earned his BSc from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, and MSc and PhD degrees from the ETH-Zurich.
He has been Co-Editor of the flagship publication of the IAAE, Agricultural Economics, since 2012, and was Associate Editor from 2001-2006. He was Associate Editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics from 2012 to 2016. He also serves on the editorial boards of China Agricultural Economic Review, Food Policy and Journal of Food Distribution Research.
His research focuses on food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation, technology adoption and natural resource management, and consumption preferences. He is an award-winning researcher, who has published more than 140 journal articles and has an h-index of 50 with more than 9,500 citations on Google Scholar. His research has been mainly funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Private Foundations. Awudu has collaborated with international research institutes like IFPRI, CIMMYT, IITA, ILRI, IRRI, and ICARDA. He has supervised more than 60 graduate students and post-docs, many of whom now serve on faculty and staff at universities and research institutes worldwide.
Awudu is an elected Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the African Association of Agricultural Economists, Honorary Life Member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, and has received numerous university, national and international awards for teaching, research and public outreach.