The Entertaining Way to Behavioral Change: Fighting HIV with MTV

81 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2019

See all articles by Abhijit V. Banerjee

Abhijit V. Banerjee

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics

Victor Orozco-Olvera

World Bank

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

We test the effectiveness of an entertainment education TV series, MTV 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 'individual' or a 'socia'' channel. We conducted a randomized controlled trial in urban Nigeria where young viewers were exposed to MTV Shuga or to a placebo TV series. Among those exposed to MTV 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 eight months after the intervention. We also find reductions in STDs among women. These effects are stronger for viewers who report being more involved with the narrative, consistent with the psychological underpinnings of "edutainment". Our experimental manipulations of the social norm component did not produce significantly different results from the main treatment. The 'individual' effect of edutainment thus seems to have prevailed in the context of our study.

Suggested Citation

Banerjee, Abhijit V. and La Ferrara, Eliana and Orozco-Olvera, Victor H., The Entertaining Way to Behavioral Change: Fighting HIV with MTV (July 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13892. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3428416

Abhijit V. Banerjee (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Milan, 20136
Italy

Victor H. Orozco-Olvera

World Bank ( email )

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

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