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

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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.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2009

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