Valentina Assenova, Management, The Wharton School
Abstract: How does having multiple kinds of network relations – multiplexity – affect diffusion by word-of-mouth information transmission? This study evaluates this question by drawing on data from a field experiment in Karnataka, India, where a local non-profit, non governmental organization informed a small subset of “leaders” and asked them to promote microfinance participation. On average, less than 20 percent of qualified individuals participated. This article develops and tests the idea that multiplexity in leaders’ personal contact networks undermined the diffusion of microfinance by impeding word-of-mouth information transmission. These findings have essential implications about the dark sides of multiplexity for diffusion through word-of-mouth information.