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Information, Technology Adoption and Productivity: The Role of Mobile Phones in Agriculture


We study the effect of mobile phone coverage on technology adoption and access to credit by Indian farmers. Our units of observation are 10x10 km cells for which we observe the evolution of mobile phone coverage, land use and agricultural inputs between 1997 and 2012. Our empirical strategy exploits variation in the construction of mobile-phone towers under a large government program aimed at increasing mobile coverage in rural areas. In particular, we compare cells covered by new towers with similar cells where new towers were proposed but eventually not realized. We find that areas receiving mobile phone coverage experience faster adoption of high-yielding varieties of seeds, and higher increase in access to credit by small farmers. To explore how mobile phones can reduce farmers' information gap on new technologies and facilitate access to credit we analyze the content of 1.4 million geo-localized calls to a major call center for agricultural advice.


Working Paper


Jacopo Ponticelli, Andrea Tesei, Apoorv Gupta

Date Published



Ponticelli, Jacopo, Andrea Tesei, and Apoorv Gupta. 2019. Information, Technology Adoption and Productivity: The Role of Mobile Phones in Agriculture.


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