Pablo Branas, Jaromir Kovarik, Ericka Rascon-Ramirez
Diffusion of mobile banking among rural women: Incentivising local leaders vs. a marketing campaign
Although mobile banking is viewed as a remedy for the limited access to banking and financial services in the developing world, its adoption rates--especially among women--are well below the expectations. How can we promote its adoption among those socially and economically disadvantaged? We experimentally compare the effectiveness of two strategies: seeded diffusion via incentivised local leaders and a traditional marketing campaign, to promote the adoption of mobile banking among poor women in rural Peru. For the first one, we exploit the existence of local leaders who were trained by a local firm to promote the diffusion of a mobile banking application. For the second, we take advantage of an on-going regional marketing campaign. During the experiment, we monitor adoption rates in treatment and control areas before, during and after both strategies took place. We show that the personalized seeded diffusion via local leaders is an effective promotion strategy as it largely outperforms the traditional campaign. In fact, the adoption rates during the campaign are statistically indistinguishable from zero. We additionally show that the seeded incentivised diffusion relies on certain features of the underlying community networks that are known to promote trust. Our results emphasize the necessity of personalized approaches to promote technological products such a mobile banking among vulnerable populations.