Waves of Change? Radio Announcements and Fertility Decline

Juliana Jaramillo, Central Bank of Colombia

Can radio campaigns affect fertility preferences? I investigate this question by studying a national radio campaign in the late 1960s in Colombia. In 1969 Profamilia, one of the largest family planning organisations in the world, started a national radio campaign to spread the idea of family planning. To evaluate the effects of exposure to radio campaigns, this paper exploits exogenous variation in radio signal strength that results from topographic factors. I use individual-level data from the full count census of 1973 and collected data on the location and dates of establishment of Profamilia's clinics. I gathered information on the content, coverage, and timing of Profamilia radio programmes, and using the Irregular Terrain Model I predict radio signal strength in the country in the 1970s. I employ a difference-in-differences analysis to compare fertility rates in municipalities with strong and weak radio signal strength before and after the start of the radio campaign. The results suggest that the effects of the radio campaign were limited.

See paper

 Presented in Session 173. Cultural Factors in Demographic Behaviour