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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. 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.
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  4. Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 1-33, October.
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  7. Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 11753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. 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.
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  18. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane, 1997. "The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 6215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Dean Karlan, 2004. "Using experimental economics to measure social capital and predict financial decisions," Artefactual Field Experiments 00074, The Field Experiments Website.
  20. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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  24. Christian, Bjørnskov, 2003. "Corruption and Social Capital," Working Papers 03-13, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
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