Misspecified Learning in Technology Adoption: Experimental Evidence from Fertilizer Use in China (JMP) (submitted)
with Binkai Chen and Ao Wang
This paper investigates agents' simultaneous learning about multiple interacting technologies in the context of fertilizer application in China. We first present experimental evidence that, relative to the personalized fertilizer recommendations based on plot-level soil analysis, farmers simultaneously overuse nitrogen fertilizers and underuse phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. Our first-phase interventions that provide customized fertilizer recommendations lead to reduced nitrogen application and increased phosphorus/potassium use. Average yields and revenues are 5-7% higher and greenhouse gas (N2O) emissions are lower, while total fertilizer costs remain unchanged. Survey data suggest that farmers overestimate the return to nitrogen because it produces a salient signal on crops by increasing greenness, but they underestimate the effectiveness of phosphorus and potassium because their effects are barely observable during the growing stages. Motivated by these facts, we then propose a model of misspecified learning in which agents face two technologies. In learning about the effectiveness of both technologies, the overestimation of the return to the first technology causes an undervaluation and underuse of the second technology. To further test the model, we design a second-phase intervention that distributes leaf color charts to farmers to correct their overestimation of the return to greenness. Consistent with the model prediction, the intervention not only reduces farmers’ nitrogen use immediately, but also induces gradual learning of phosphorus and potassium; the proportion of farmers using phosphorus and potassium both increase by 6 percentage points, relative to 4% and 9% in the control group.
Labor Market Integration, Firm Sorting, and Regional Inequality (with Hanming Fang and Ming Li) (draft available upon request)
The Long Run Impacts of Land Endowment and Market Formation on Labor and Education Misallocation
with Qianmiao (Michelle) Chen and Shaoda Wang
The Causal Impact of Economics Education on Decision-making: Evidence from A Natural Experiment in China (with Binkai Chen and Ao Wang). Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization (2021), 188, pp.1124-1143.
Work in Progress
Effects of Referring Business Partners on Firm Networks and Performance (RCT intervention complete)
with Jing Cai and Adam Szeidl
Effects of E-commerce on Suppliers and Clients (RCT intervention and data collection complete)
with Jing Cai and Adam Szeidl
The Gains from Trade from Rural-Urban Migration
with Dennis Egger, Benjamin Faber, and Ming Li
The Gains from Online Integration: Theory and Evidence from China
(with Benjamin Faber, Victor Couture, Cecile Gaubert, Yizhen Gu, and Ming Li)
Using Social Learning to Tackle Inappropriate Use of Technologies (Network data collection complete)
Policy Work/Pre-Doctoral Publications:
Regulatory Protection and the Concentration of Trade: Evidence from Chinese Customs Data (wiith Robert Gulotty, Xiaojun Li, and Lizhi Liu)
Does the Implementation of Reference Pricing Result in Reduced Utilization? Evidence from Inpatient and Outpatient Procedures (with Holly Elser, Ralph A. Catalano, and Timothy Brown). Medical Care Research and Review (2020), p.1077558720971117.
Residential electricity consumption after the reform of tiered pricing for household electricity in China (with Gang Du, Chuangwang Sun, and Dingzhong Zhang). Applied Energy (2015), 157, pp.276-283.
The Incentive for Firms' Innovation: Evidence from China's Rising Labor Cost, Management World (管理世界) (2013), (10), 95-105, 2013.