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The role of social capital in the adoption of firewood efficient stoves in the Northern Peruvian Andes

Agurto Adrianzen, Marcos (2009): The role of social capital in the adoption of firewood efficient stoves in the Northern Peruvian Andes.

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Abstract

This paper explores rural households’ adoption of a new cooking technology in the Northern Peruvian Andes. It exploits a development intervention which distributed and installed, at no cost, firewood efficient stoves in the rural communities of Chalaco District. Using first hand data, collected from the beneficiary villages, this research investigates how village technology adoption patterns and village social capital mutually interact and influence the individual household’s adoption decision. The results in this paper indicate that the effect of village adoption patterns on the household’s adoption decision is significantly higher in villages with stronger social capital and that the marginal impact of social capital may be negative if village success in adoption is relatively low. It is also shown that only the proportion of adopters that did not experience problems with their own stoves has a positive impact on individual household adoption through its interaction with social capital, while the reverse is true for the village proportion of adopters experiencing problems with the new cooking technology. In this study measures of social capital were collected prior to the intervention; therefore, reverse causality should not be a critical issue in identifying the effects of this social variable. Village unobservable factors are not likely to drive the observed patterns in the data; this paper also shows that village success in adoption has a negative effect on the decision to uninstall the stove among beneficiary non users and that this effect is also increasing in village social capital. The results point to the importance of village social structures in the success of development interventions.

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