Empowering poor people through public information? Lessons from a movie in rural India
Mass public information campaigns have promised to empower poor people, but do they deliver on that promise? We designed and implemented a trial information campaign in poor rural areas of India, in the form of an entertaining movie that teaches people their rights under a large national antipoverty program. In randomly assigned villages, the movie brought significant gains in knowledge and more positive perceptions about the scheme and village life relative to control villages. But objectively measured outcomes showed no gain. The movie changed perceptions but not reality. We conclude that information is not the key constraint in this context.
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