We provide novel empirical evidence on the association between social networks and the adoption of renewable energy technology. We distinguish between two main transmission mechanisms through which social networks can affect renewable energy technology adoption: information diffusion and social influence. Using data primarily collected from rural China on biogas adoption, we find that both mechanisms are at work. In addition, we find that information spreads through trusted network members, such as friends and family, while social influence is mainly exercised by government officials. Government officials are more likely to promote the adoption of technology by leading by example rather than by spreading information.
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