Public health information dissemination

 with Macartan Humphreys and Peter van der Windt — Democratic Republic of Congo

Summary: Information flows are embedded in social structures and networks. Using political economy, we aim at understanding the process of the dissemination of information of public interest. This will allow testing theories linking social structure to cooperation but will be especially relevant for designing information campaigns that maximize information spread with consideration of the social structure.

Design: We randomly vary the type of public health information provided privately to a sample of villagers and examine the determinants of information flow within communities. In particular, we estimate the effect of a previously randomized development project aimed at promoting social cohesion by examining the extent of information flows across treatment and control groups. In addition, we evaluate the role of social fragmentation in information flow and expect to draw lessons on the effective designs to distribute information.