Multiplexity and Information Transmission: Evidence from Rural India

Valentina Assenova, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: This study evaluates how having multiple kinds of relations – multiplexity – affects diffusion by word-of-mouth information transmission. The study uses data from a field experiment in 49 remote villages in Karnataka, India. The experiment used “leaders” in each community tasked with raising awareness and promoting microfinance participation among their contacts. The article develops and tests the idea that multiplex ties encouraged microfinance participation through social learning (Hypothesis 1), but that multiplex ties negatively moderated the benefits of word-of-mouth information through experimentally seeded leaders (Hypothesis 2). The results support these hypotheses and suggest that multiplexity created conflicting interests among leaders to recommend microfinance. The article concludes with implications for how multiplexity affects learning and information transmission within communities and organizations.

Read the full working paper here (PDF).

Michelle Eckert is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Mack Institute, where she works to engage students, researchers, and corporate partners in opportunities for collaboration. Michelle received her B.A. in Art from Valparaiso University in 2007. Her background includes two AmeriCorps terms of service working to teach mathematics, computer literacy, and job readiness skills to out-of-school youth in Philadelphia, focusing particularly on promoting access to post-secondary education.