Television and Contraceptive Use – Panel Evidence from Rural Indonesia
In recent years, rural electrification and access to television have spread rapidly throughout the developing world. The values and cultural norms embodied in television programming have potentially profound implications for influencing behavior, particularly as regards reproductive decisions. Using household panel data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS), this paper explores the effect of television ownership on the use of modern contraceptives in rural Indonesia. Although results from a pooled regression suggest a statistically significant and positive relationship between contraceptive use and television ownership, this finding is not robust to fixed effects estimates that control for time-invariant unobserved characteristics. By contrast, several other individual and community-level determinants, most notably the presence of midwives and health services, are statistically significant in the fixed effects model. We conclude that the growing corpus of cross-sectional evidence on a link between television and contraception should be interpreted cautiously.
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