Do Television And Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence From Indonesian Villages

Date Added: Oct 2009
Format: PDF

This paper investigates the impact of television and radio on social capital in Indonesia. The author uses 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. The author finds 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.