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Can referral improve targeting? Evidence from an agricultural training experiment

Marcel Fafchamps (), Asad Islam, Mohammad Malek () and Debayan Pakrashi

Journal of Development Economics, 2020, vol. 144, issue C

Abstract: We seek to better target agricultural training by inviting current trainees to refer future trainees. Some referees are rewarded or incentivized. Training increases the adoption of recommended practices and improves performance, but not all trainees adopt. Referred trainees are 4.2% more likely to adopt than randomly selected trainees, and 3.4-3.8% more likely than what can be predicted from observed characteristics of trainees. This implies that referral provides a slight improvement in targeting. Rewarding or incentivizing referees does not improve referral quality, however. When referees receive financial compensation, referees and referred farmers are more likely to coordinate their adoption behavior. Incentivized referees are more likely to adopt, to incur losses from adoption, and to abandon the new practices in the following year.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.102436

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