Incentives, social learning and economic development: Experimental and quasi-experimental evidence from Uganda

Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Informational constraints hinder successful adoption and scaling of potentially beneficial agricultural technologies. Social learning in the form of farmer-to-farmer technology transfer can help to address informational constraints. Without incentives, however, the first individuals in the target population to receive the technology may not “automatically” share the knowledge with their neighbours. This thesis examined the effect of private material rewards and social recognition on the diffusion of agricultural technologies through social learning. Secondly, it assessed the role of social distance in influencing information exchange, and the subsequent impacts on knowledge exposure and technology adoption. Thirdly, the mechanisms through which social networks influence technology diffusion were examined. Fourthly, the thesis quantified the impacts of adopting climate smart agricultural (CSA) technologies on productivity, downside risk, food security, and resilience of livelihoods in the post-conflict northern Uganda. The main results are summarized as follows: (1) rewarding disseminating farmers (DFs) with social recognition increased their effort to train their covillagers; (2) social distance influenced information exchange between DFs and their covillagers, but the direction of influence was inconclusive; (3) information exchange links increased awareness, knowledge, and adoption of drought-tolerant maize varieties by covillagers; (4) incentives changed both the DFs and neighbours’ networks subsequently increasing knowledge diffusion and adoption by co-villagers; (5) Adoption of CSA technologies boosted productivity, reduced production risk, and increased food security, but did not reduce downside risks. The thesis discusses policy implications of the findings and provides recommendations for future research.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Bulte, Erwin, Promotor
  • Giller, Ken, Promotor
  • Pieters, Janneke, Co-promotor
Award date4 Dec 2018
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463433303
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2018


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