Jared Gars is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Abstract: Does confidence influence demand for and responsiveness to information interventions? We add to an emerging literature on behavioral responses to information provision by investigating the role of confidence on willingness to pay for and responsiveness to input recommendations and soil quality measures in the context of a soil testing intervention in Bihar, India. To motivate our empirical analysis, we interpret confidence within the target-input model as the variance of a farmer’s prior beliefs over optimal fertilizer application rates. We extend the model to consider how farmers make decisions about the purchase and responsiveness to a signal given heterogeneity in their ability, trust, and confidence. The model predictions are tested in the context of a soil testing intervention in the state of Bihar that provided farmers with plot level soil health cards prior to planting. We elicit farmers’ prior beliefs distributions over optimal fertilizer application rates using a visually aided method in the field and combine measures of dispersion with willingness to pay for soil tests and input behavior before and after receipt of soil health cards with plot level nutrient levels and recommendations. We find that farmers with less disperse priors (more confident) have a lower willingness to pay for soil testing ex-ante and lower responsiveness of fertilizer usage to the recommended application rates.