Research Article

The Diffusion of Microfinance

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Science  26 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6144, 1236498
DOI: 10.1126/science.1236498

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Infectious Information?

Much of the recent work on how individuals in social networks behave has relied upon the established Susceptible, Infectious, Recovered model developed in epidemiology. Information, however, differs from disease in one respect, namely that an individual might acquire information and yet not use it (or become “infected” by it). Banerjee et al. (1236498) examined the spread of information about microfinance and its adoption in 43 villages in Karnataka, a state in southern India. Adopters of microfinance were more likely to pass information about it on, and a new measure—diffusion centrality—of the first person to learn new information predicted how widely and quickly others would be likely to make use of it.

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