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Mass Media And Social Change: Can We Use Television To Fight Poverty?

Listed author(s):
  • Eliana La Ferrara

This paper explores the potential use of entertainment media programs for achieving development goals. I propose a simple framework for interpreting media effects that hinges on three channels: (i) information provision, (ii) role modeling and preference change, and (iii) time use. I then review the existing evidence on how exposure to commercial television and radio affects outcomes such as fertility preferences, gender norms, education, migration and social capital. I complement these individual country studies with cross-country evidence from Africa and with a more in-depth analysis for Nigeria, using the Demographic Health Surveys. I then consider the potential educational role of entertainment media, starting with a discussion of the psychological underpinnings and then reviewing recent rigorous evaluations of edutainment programs. I conclude by highlighting open questions and avenues for future research.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.2016.14.issue-4
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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 14 (2016)
Issue (Month): 4 (08)
Pages: 791-827

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:4:p:791-827
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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Sharon Barnhardt & Esther Duflo, 2015. "Movies, Margins, and Marketing: Encouraging the Adoption of Iron-Fortified Salt," NBER Chapters,in: Insights in the Economics of Aging, pages 285-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2009. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 677-734.
  3. Farré, Lídia & Fasani, Francesco, 2013. "Media exposure and internal migration — Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 48-61.
  4. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2010. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 643-669, 09.
  5. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2015. "Early Childhood Education by MOOC: Lessons from Sesame Street," NBER Working Papers 21229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Zavodny, Madeline, 2006. "Does watching television rot your mind? Estimates of the effect on test scores," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 565-573, October.
  7. Cheung, Maria, 2012. "Edutainment Radio, Women's Status and Primary School Participation: Evidence from Cambodia," Research Papers in Economics 2012:5, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  8. Berg,Gunhild & Zia,Bilal Husnain, 2013. "Harnessing emotional connections to improve financial decisions : evaluating the impact of financial education in mainstream media," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6407, The World Bank.
  9. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094.
  10. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2008. "Preschool Television Viewing and Adolescent Test Scores: Historical Evidence from the Coleman Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 279-323.
  11. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
  12. Justine S. Hastings & Brigitte C. Madrian & William L. Skimmyhorn, 2013. "Financial Literacy, Financial Education, and Economic Outcomes," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 347-373, 05.
  13. Bernard, Tanguy & Dercon, Stefan & Orkin, Kate & Taffesse, Alemayehu, 2014. "The Future in Mind: Aspirations and Forward-Looking Behaviour in Rural Ethiopia," CEPR Discussion Papers 10224, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2015. "Media Influences on Social Outcomes: The Impact of MTV's 16 and Pregnant on Teen Childbearing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(12), pages 3597-3632, December.
  15. Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Sekei, Linda Helgesson & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2015. "Teaching through television: Experimental evidence on entrepreneurship education in Tanzania," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 3/2015, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
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