Is TV good for Indian women?

Here’s from Robert Jensen and Emily Oster:

Cable and satellite television have grown rapidly throughout the
developing world. The availability of cable and satellite television
exposes viewers to new information about the outside world, which may
affect individual attitudes and behaviors. This paper explores the
effect of the introduction of cable television on gender attitudes in
rural India. Using a three-year individual-level panel dataset, we find
that the introduction of cable television is associated with
improvements in women’s status. We find significant increases in
reported autonomy, decreases in the reported acceptability of beating
and decreases in reported son preference. We also find increases in
female school enrollment and decreases in fertility (primarily via
increased birth spacing). The effects are large, equivalent in some
cases to about five years of education in the cross section, and move
gender attitudes of individuals in rural areas much closer to those in
urban areas. We argue that the results are not driven by pre-existing
differential trends. These results have important policy implications,
as India and other countries attempt to decrease bias against women.

Here is the paper, here is a non-gated version.  The pointer is from David Zetland.


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