Thursday September 28 in room A822 at 15:00
Title: The Entertaining Way to Behavioral Change (joint with A. Banerjee and V. Orozco)


We test the effectiveness of an educational entertainment TV series, Shuga, aimed at providing information and changing attitudes and behaviors related to HIV/AIDS. Using a simple model we show that “edutainment” can work through an “information” or through a “conformity” channel. We conducted a randomized controlled trial in urban Nigeria where young viewers were exposed to Shuga or to a non-educational TV series. Among those who watched Shuga, we created additional variation in the “social messages” they received and in the people with whom they watched the show. We find significant improvements in knowledge and attitudes towards HIV and risky sexual behavior. Treated subjects are twice as likely to get tested for HIV 6 to 9 months after the intervention. We also find reductions in STDs among women. Our experimental manipulations of the social norm component did not produce significantly different results from the main treatment. Also, we don’t detect significant spillovers on friends who did not watch Shuga. The “information” effect of edutainment thus seems to have prevailed in the context of our study.



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