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Empowering poor people through public information? Lessons from a movie in rural India

Listed author(s):
  • Ravallion, Martin
  • van de Walle, Dominique
  • Dutta, Puja
  • Murgai, Rinku

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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004727271500167X
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 132 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 13-22

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:132:y:2015:i:c:p:13-22
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.09.010
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Philip Keefer & Stuti Khemani, 2005. "Democracy, Public Expenditures, and the Poor: Understanding Political Incentives for Providing Public Services," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 1-27.
  2. Sah, Raaj, 2007. "Corruption across countries and regions: Some consequences of local osmosis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2573-2598, August.
  3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
  4. Marsh, Catherine, 1985. "Back on the Bandwagon: The Effect of Opinion Polls on Public Opinion," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 51-74, January.
  5. Niehaus, Paul & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2013. "The marginal rate of corruption in public programs: Evidence from India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 52-64.
  6. Ghazala Mansuri & Vijayendra Rao, 2013. "Localizing Development : Does Participation Work?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11859, April.
  7. Puja Dutta & Rinku Murgai & Martin Ravallion & Dominique van de Walle, 2014. "Right to Work? Assessing India's Employment Guarantee Scheme in Bihar," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 17195, April.
  8. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2005. "Participatory Democracy in Action: Survey Evidence from South India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 648-657, 04/05.
  9. Dutta, Puja & Murgai, Rinku & Ravallion., Martin & van de Walle, Dominique, 2012. "Does India's employment guarantee scheme guarantee employment ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6003, The World Bank.
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