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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Harvard-MIT Economic Development Seminar: The Diffusion of Microfinance

We examine how participation in a micro?nance program diffuses through social networks, using detailed demographic, social network, and participation data from 43 villages in South India. We exploit exogenous variation in the importance (in a net¬work sense) of the people who were ?rst informed about the program, the “injection points.” Micro?nance participation is signi?cantly higher when the injection points have higher eigenvector centrality. We also estimate structural models of di?usion that al¬low us to (i) determine the relative roles of basic information transmission versus other forms of peer in?uence, and (ii) distinguish information passing by participants and non¬participants. We ?nd that participants are signi?cantly more likely to pass information on to friends and acquaintances than informed non-participants. However, information passing by non-participants is still substantial and signi?cant, accounting for roughly one-third of informedness and participation. We also ?nd that, once we have properly conditioned on an individual being informed, her decision to participate is not signi?¬cantly a?ected by the participation of her acquaintances.

  • Location:
    Harvard Hall 104
  • Date:
    Tuesday, September 18, 2012
  • Time:
    2:40 PM

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