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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 2005 → Social networks and rural development : Theory and applications in the Kenyan highlands

Cornell University (2005)

Social networks and rural development : Theory and applications in the Kenyan highlands

Hogset, Heidi

Titre : Social networks and rural development : Theory and applications in the Kenyan highlands

Auteur : Hogset, Heidi

Université de soutenance : Cornell University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2005

Résumé
This dissertation addresses underlying reasons for soil degradation and stagnant or declining per capita food output in Sub-Saharan Africa. The introductory chapter presents a review of the literature on adoption of improved agricultural technologies. It concludes that slow adoption of beneficial innovations may be blamed on dysfunctional informal institutions that are embedded in social networks. Thus, a social networks study was conducted in the Kenyan highlands to analyze the relationship between social networks, informal finance and technology adoption. The second chapter develops a theoretical model of an informal insurance arrangement, and proposes that such arrangements cannot insulate poor farmers from the adoption risk associated with new technologies. The third chapter is an empirical study of economic transfers through social networks among smallholder farmers in Kenya. This chapter explores the patterns of transfers within networks, and characterizes recipients and providers of informal credit and insurance, as well as the relationship between them and the purposes such transfers serve. The main finding is that the village population is stratified into separate social networks according to wealth and income, limiting the base for risk pooling for the poorest. The fourth and final chapter analyzes social network effects on Kenyan smallholders’ decisions to adopt improved natural resource management techniques. These effects are decomposed into effects from social influence and learning through networks, group effects, weak ties effects, informal finance, and conflicts arising from technological externalities, controlling for non-network effects. Contact with extension officers and membership in women’s groups and youth groups have a positive effect on adoption, but the classical social learning effects appear to be weak, at least for technologies that are not new and unknown. Informal finance is not important for technology adoption. The network study reveals that rural villagers do not observe each other’s technology adoption behavior very well - respondents are apparently guessing about adoption choices of their network contacts. An experiment designed to reveal how villagers access information through social networks showed that the penetration of print media in rural villages is low, but information disseminated through broadcast media reaches beyond those who have radios and television sets themselves.

Mots clés : Social networks, Rural development, Social structure, Kenyan, Insurance, Social sciences Agricultural economics, Subsistence farming, Natural resource management, Technology

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