Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2012:5: Edutainment Radio, Women's Status and Primary School Participation: Evidence from Cambodia

Maria Cheung ()
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Maria Cheung: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper investigates whether exposure to "edutainment" (education - entertainment) radio leads to improved women's status and primary school participation. Specifically, I examine a popular radio station focusing on gender issues in Cambodia. To identify the effect, I exploit plausible exogenous variation in over-the-air signal strength between radio transmitters and villages within a district, as well as the variation across time and space in exposure. Using individual data, both approaches show that the exposure had a significant impact on behavior by raising the women's decision-making power within the household and increasing children's primary school attendance. The latter impact is also reflected by higher primary school enrollment three years after exposure. The impact was found in both poor and rural house- holds confirming that radio is an effective vehicle to transmit information in the more marginalized areas. Suggestive evidence shows that the exposure also affected attitudes towards domestic violence and the prevalence of son preference which is a stepping stone towards changing socially constructed gender norms.

Keywords: Radio exposure; information; gender; women's status; schooling; enrollment; attitude; behavior; edutainment; Cambodia

JEL-codes: D83; I25; J16

46 pages, April 12, 2012

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