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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses whether education limits or exacerbates the effects of state-sponsored propaganda on political violence. It provides evidence for the hypothesis that basic education can limit the effectiveness of propaganda by increasing access to alternative media sources. It builds on the case study of the Rwandan genocide in work done by Yanagizawa-Drott (2011), and shows that the propaganda disseminated by the “hate radio” station RTLM did not affect participation in violence in villages where education levels, as measured by literacy rates, were relatively high. A discussion of the potential underlying mechanisms driving the results is presented. The methodological challenges of identifying causal effects of mass media and propaganda are also described, including recent innovations using statistical methods that may be used to overcome those challenges.

Keywords: Media effects, education, literacy, radio, political violence, Rwandan genocide

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