It takes two: Experimental evidence on the determinants of technology diffusion

Morgan Hardy, Jamie McCasland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on an experiment that brings insights from the literature on demand-side determinants of technology adoption to the study of peer-to-peer diffusion. We develop a custom weaving technique and randomly seed training into a real network of garment making firm owners in Ghana. Training leads to limited adoption among trainees, but little to no diffusion to non-trainees. In a second phase, we cross-randomize demand for the technique. Demand shocks increase adoption of the technology in both groups and diffusion to untrained firms, generated by a pattern in which trained firm owners teach approximately 400% more of their peers if they are randomly assigned to the demand intervention. We find no evidence that our main effects are driven by differences in ability (learning-by-doing) or other adoption-based mechanisms. Rather, our findings are most consistent with the demand intervention generating differential willingness to diffuse among potential teachers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102600
JournalJournal of Development Economics
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Demand
  • Diffusion
  • Firms
  • Networks
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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