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Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages

  • Benjamin A. Olken

This paper investigates the impact of television and radio on social capital in Indonesia. I use two sources of variation in signal reception -- one based on Indonesia's mountainous terrain, and a second based on the differential introduction of private television throughout Indonesia. I find that increased signal reception, which leads to more time watching television and listening to the radio, is associated with less participation in social organizations and with lower self-reported trust. Improved reception does not affect village governance, at least as measured by discussions in village meetings and by corruption in village road projects. (JEL L82, O15, Z13)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 1-33

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:1-33
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.1
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  1. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  2. James M. Snyder, Jr. & David Strömberg, 2008. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," NBER Working Papers 13878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lant Pritchett, 2005. "Voice Lessons:Local Government Organizations, Social Organizations, and the Quality of Local Governance," Working Papers id:15, eSocialSciences.
  4. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," NBER Working Papers 12561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 354-384, March.
  6. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1999. "Distribution-free estimation of some nonlinear panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 77-97, May.
  8. Besley, T. & Coate, S. & Loury, G., 1990. "The Economics Of Rotating Savings And Credit Associations," Papers 149, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  9. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  10. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1688-1699, December.
  11. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2008. "Preschool Television Viewing and Adolescent Test Scores: Historical Evidence from the Coleman Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 279-323, 02.
  12. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  13. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study," NBER Working Papers 12021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Olken, Benjamin A., 2009. "Corruption perceptions vs. corruption reality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 950-964, August.
  15. Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 11753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  17. Edward Miguel & Paul Gertler & David I. Levine, 2005. "Does Social Capital Promote Industrialization? Evidence from a Rapid Industrializer," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 754-762, November.
  18. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2007. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," NBER Working Papers 13305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Trust in Large Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. DellaVigna, Stefano & Kaplan, Ethan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," Seminar Papers 748, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  21. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-De-Silanes, 1999. "The Benefits Of Privatization: Evidence From Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1193-1242, November.
  22. Christian, Bjørnskov, 2003. "Corruption and Social Capital," Working Papers 03-13, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  23. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  24. Joel Sobel, 2002. "Can We Trust Social Capital?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 139-154, March.
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