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Title:The Diffusion of Conservation Technology: A Dyad Analysis of Innovators and Their Neighbors
Author(s):Makowski, Thomas J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):van Es, Johannes C.
Department / Program:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Abstract:The goal of the study is to contribute to the understanding of the process of the diffusion of innovations. A corollary to this goal is to assess systematic differences and similarities in the socioeconomic characteristics of innovators, those individuals in a social system who, relative to their peers, are among the very first to adopt an innovation. The problem addressed is a lack of recent diffusion research on innovators in contemporary American agriculture. Many of the assumptions about the process of the diffusion of innovations in agriculture are based on a social, economic and agricultural structure which no longer exists. By focusing on the innovators of a conservation innovation, several of the longstanding hypotheses of the dominant adoption and diffusion model in rural sociology are tested.
The study is unique in the tradition of sociological adoption and diffusion research because of the inclusion of a sample of innovators. Largely because innovators are a rare population, not easily obtainable using conventional sociological survey sampling methods, they are an adopter group which has hardly ever been studied. The study is also distinctive in its use of dyads (matched pairs) of innovators and their neighbors to control for regional social, economic, environmental, and agricultural variations and to investigate the innovators' influence in others' adoption decisions.
A descriptive analysis presents the results of a mean-of-the-differences test for the two samples of dyads used in the study. A regression analysis is used to test several hypotheses derived from the dominant diffusion model in rural sociology. The results indicate: (1) actual socioeconomic dyad differences are small, (2) dyad differences in linkages with sources of agricultural information consistently distinguish between innovators and their neighbors, and (3) the dangers of inferring from population data information on the characteristics of the population subclass of innovators.
The research indicates that several of the relationships supported by past research require re-examination. Three areas of diffusion research in which the lack of current research appears most critical are: (1) innovators and their role in the diffusion of innovations, (2) the nonadoption of innovations, and (3) the adoption and rejection of conservation technology.
Issue Date:1988
Description:257 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8908764
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1988

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