Power to the Peers: Authority of Source Effects for a Voice-based Agricultural Information Service in Rural India


Dave Paresh, Kapil Shah, Krishna Savani, Neil Patel, Scott Klemmer, Tepan Parikh


agriculture, authority, dissemination, India, mobile, online community, peer, rural development, source


Proceedings for the Fifth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development

Year Published:


Policy Summary

This study tested the hypothesis that in India, where social hierarchy is important, users may over-value institutionally-recognized authorities relative to peer-sourced content. Conducting a controlled experiment of source authority effects on a voice-based agricultural infromation service for farmers, they demonstrate significant demand for peer-based agricultural information dissemination over information from established authorities. This supports prior work suggesting that farmers should be more deeply integrated into the knowledge diffusion process for effective knowledge transfer in agriculture. They provide design implications for peer-to-peer information services in rural communities in India. While no direct policy implications are given, opportunities emerge for policies that support this knowledge transmission, and the technology and infrastructure needed to conduct this type of knowledge transmission.

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