IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Reducing intergroup prejudice and conflict with the media: A field experiment in Rwanda


  • Elizabeth Levy Paluck

    () (Harvard University)


Can the media reduce intergroup prejudice and conflict? Despite the high stakes of this question, understanding of the mass media’s role in shaping prejudiced beliefs, norms, and behaviors is very limited. A yearlong field experiment in Rwanda tested the impact of a radio soap opera about two Rwandan communities in conflict, which featured messages about reducing intergroup prejudice, violence, and trauma. Compared to communities who listened to a control radio soap opera, listeners’ perceptions of social norms and their behaviors changed concerning some of the most critical issues for Rwanda’s post conflict society, namely intermarriage, open dissent, trust, empathy, cooperation and discussion of personal trauma. However, the radio program did little to influence listeners’ personal beliefs. Group discussion was a notable feature of the listening experience. Taken together, the results suggest that radio can communicate social norms and influence behaviors that contribute to intergroup tolerance and reconciliation.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Levy Paluck, 2007. "Reducing intergroup prejudice and conflict with the media: A field experiment in Rwanda," HiCN Working Papers 34, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:34

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
    2. Alan S. Gerber & Dean Karlan & Daniel Bergan, 2009. "Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. William Easterly, 2009. "Can the West Save Africa?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 373-447, June.

    More about this item


    Education-entertainment; prejudice reduction; conflict reduction; trauma; field experiment; mass media; radio; social norms;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:34. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alia Aghajanian) or () or () or (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.