In contexts ranging from health and agriculture to product marketing and job search, networks matter in how individuals make decisions. In the context of mobile money and mobile phones, social networks play a critical role in determining eventual technology adoption.
In Pakistan, take-up and usage of mobile money accounts has been relatively low. This is despite the fact that mobile money is considered potentially less expensive, more convenient, and can offer a wider range of financial services (such as savings accounts or insurance) than many other payment channels (such as over-the-counter services, or more informal channels such as transfers made through friends, relatives or even public transport).
The project's pilot work in Pakistan over the past three years highlighted the benefits of leveraging networks in marketing campaigns. The goal of the current study is to understand how and why social networks matter in mobile money adoption and active use. Once again working alongside Pakistan's leading telecom operator, Telenor Easypaisa, the researchers are implementing a large-scale network experiment incentivizing existing mobile account holders to refer their friends or relatives to the mobile money platform. By leveraging referrals, the study aims to identify the channels through which referral-based interventions can be most effective at increasing the take-up and sustained usage of mobile money in Pakistan.