Soap Operas Boost Rights, Global Economist Says

December 22, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Alexandra Paul for this story from NPR News.

Much of the discussion of television in the United States involves talk about falling ratings and cultural damage, but writer and economist Charles Kenny sees many positive benefits of television in the developing world.

It’s not just that television sets are popping up in living rooms and cafes from New Delhi to the most remote locations in Saudi Arabia, it’s that now those TVs tend to come with many more choices through satellite and cable.

Citing research by scholars Robert Jensen and Emily Oster, Kenny says that a village getting satellite or cable TV “goes along with higher girls’ school enrollment rates and increased female autonomy. Within two years of getting cable or satellite, between 45 and 70 percent of the difference between urban and rural areas on these measures disappears.”

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