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The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India

  • Robert Jensen

    (School of Public Affairs, UCLA, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, and NBER.)

  • Emily Oster

    (University of Chicago and NBER.)

Cable and satellite television have spread rapidly throughout the developing world. These media sources expose viewers to new information about the outside world and other ways of life, which may affect attitudes and behaviors. This paper explores the effect of the introduction of cable television on women's status in rural India. Using a three-year, individual-level panel data set, we find that the introduction of cable television is associated with significant decreases in the reported acceptability of domestic violence toward women and son preference, as well as increases in women's autonomy and decreases in fertility. We also find suggestive evidence that exposure to cable increases school enrollment for younger children, perhaps through increased participation of women in household decision making. We argue that the results are not driven by preexisting differential trends. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 1057-1094

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:3:p:1057-1094
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  1. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," NBER Working Papers 12169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Lupin Rahman & Vijayendra Rao, 2004. "The Determinants of Gender Equity in India: Examining Dyson and Moore's Thesis with New Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(2), pages 239-268.
  10. Paula Griffiths & Zoƫ Matthews & Andrew Hinde, 2000. "Understanding the sex ratio in India: A simulation approach," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 477-488, November.
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