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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 1 No. 4 (October 2009)

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Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages

Article Citation

Olken, Benjamin A. 2009. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(4): 1-33.

DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.1

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of television and radio on social capital in Indonesia. I use two sources of variation in signal reception -- one based on Indonesia's mountainous terrain, and a second based on the differential introduction of private television throughout Indonesia. I find that increased signal reception, which leads to more time watching television and listening to the radio, is associated with less participation in social organizations and with lower self-reported trust. Improved reception does not affect village governance, at least as measured by discussions in village meetings and by corruption in village road projects. (JEL L82, O15, Z13)

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Authors

Olken, Benjamin A. (MIT)

JEL Classifications

L82: Entertainment; Media
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology

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