The Impact of Media on Behaviour: Evidence from Television Coverage Expansion and Declining Fertility in Indonesia


The media is increasingly recognized as playing an important role in affecting the behaviour of individuals. In this article, we examine the effect of an expansion of private television broadcast on fertility in Indonesia. Our district fixed effects estimation results show that increasing the share of population with access to private television by one-standard deviation—from a 78% coverage to a universal coverage—reduces crude birth rate by 6.2%, equivalent to 190,000 fewer births. We find evidence that television causes an increase in the use of modern contraceptives, but no change in the use of traditional contraceptives. The finding that expanding television coverage increases the demand for modern contraceptives shows that policy-makers need to ensure that modern contraceptive is easily accessible.

Keywords: birth rate, fertility, Indonesia, television