Diffusion of drip irrigation: The case of California

Rebecca Taylor, David Zilberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article provides insights regarding the state of the literature on the economics of drip irrigation adoption and diffusion. Our literature review finds that the methodological approaches to studying diffusion-conceptual modeling, empirical analysis, and historical narratives-are complementary, yet historical analyses have been underemphasized. To address this gap, we conduct a historical analysis of the diffusion of drip irrigation in California. Our forty-five-year narrative highlights that the successful adoption of drip irrigation to diverse crops and locations required (i) coevolution of the technology and complementary production processes, and (ii) joint efforts by private and public experts at the local level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-40
Number of pages25
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Drip irrigation
  • Historical analysis
  • Process innovation
  • Technology diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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