Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cable TV as feminist vanguard

In fairness to a medium for which I have little use except on Sunday afternoons, economists Robert Jensen of Brown University and Emily Oster of the University of Chicago find that the introduction of cable TV to rural villages in India is good for women:

The villages that added cable were associated with improvements in measures of women's autonomy, a reduction in the number of situations in which wife beating was deemed acceptable, and a reduction in the likelihood of wanting the next child to be a boy. And, the effects were quite large. In a sample in which the average education level was 3.5 years, introducing cable appeared to have the same effects on attitudes towards female autonomy as 5.5 years of education. Cable also increased the likelihood that a girl aged 6-10 would be enrolled in school, although it had no effect for boys, and cut the yearly increase in the number of children or pregnancies among women of childbearing age.
This is from writer Linda Gorman's summary in the December issue of NBER Digest. The original abstract is here, or read the whole thing here (PDF).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent article and comments.
However, I think cable television is becoming extinct and will eventually be replaced by satellite TV which is becoming the norm, especially in locales outside the United States.