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

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  • Eliana La Ferrara

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Eliana La Ferrara, 2016. "Mass Media And Social Change: Can We Use Television To Fight Poverty?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 791-827, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:4:p:791-827
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.2016.14.issue-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Casarico, Alessandra & Tonin, Mirco, 2018. "Pay-What-You-Want to Support Independent Information: A Field Experiment on Motivation," IZA Discussion Papers 11366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Greg Seymour & Maria S. Floro, 2016. "Identity, Household Work, and Subjective Well-Being among Rural Women in Bangladesh," Working Papers id:11520, eSocialSciences.
    3. Stefano DellaVigna & Eliana La Ferrara, 2015. "Economic and Social Impacts of the Media," NBER Working Papers 21360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bicchieri, Cristina & Marini, Annalisa, 2015. "Female Genital Mutilation: Fundamentals, Social Expectations and Change," MPRA Paper 67523, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Patrick Lubega & Frances Nakakawa & Gaia Narciso & Carol Newman & Cissy Kityo, 2017. "Inspiring women: Experimental evidence on sharing entrepreneurial skills in Uganda," Trinity Economics Papers tep2017, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    6. Neetu A. John & Kirsten Stoebenau & Samantha Ritter & Jeffrey Edmeades & Nikola Balvin & UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, 2017. "Gender Socialization during Adolescence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Conceptualization, influences and outcomes," Papers indipa885, Innocenti Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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