THE SOURCE: “Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence From Indonesian Villages” by Benjamin A. Olken, in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Oct. 2009.
It is a common charge that excessive television viewing drives down rates of civic and social involvement. A recent study by Benjamin A. Olken, an economist at MIT, shows just how true that is, measuring how much people’s community participation decreases for every channel they receive.
Indonesia boasts a strong tradition of community involvement. A typical village has a broad range of civic activities, including religious study groups, women’s organizations, savings...