Evaluating the Impact of Entrepreneurship Edutainment in Egypt: An experimental approach with peer effects

The impact of an edutainment program broadcast on a popular Egyptian television channel and specifically designed to promote entrepreneurship among young adult viewers is measured.  A randomized controlled trial following a non-symmetric encouragement design  is implemented to measure the impact of the intervention on viewers’ attitudes towards self-employment, knowledge of the Egyptian entrepreneurial ecosystem, professional aspirations, and professional choices. The design allows us to identify the importance of peer effects within groups of friends. Several conclusions are reached. First, while the show had some impact on viewers’ attitudes toward self-employment, its impact is much more limited on the other three sets of outcomes. The impact of the intervention is particularly important on respondents’ gender-related beliefs associated with self-employment. Second, we find some evidence of complex peer effects, alternately amplifying and mitigating the direct effect of a respondent’s exposure to the intervention. Third, while some of the intervention’s impacts seem to be welfare-improving, others are more ambiguous from a welfare perspective. These results emphasize the importance of the nature of the messages conveyed by media programs, the way in which these are conveyed, as well as how they can be perceived by a heterogeneous population.

Policy implications 
Exposing young adults to successful women entrepreneurs, as the winner and the runner-up in the show, can help correct detrimental beliefs on the capacity of women to successfully run businesses. Content and conveyed key messages of edutainment programmes aimed at changing peoples’ beliefs need to be carefully designed to prevent inducing distortions of the reality among viewers, which might carry detrimental welfare effects.
Barsoum, G., Crépon, B., Gardiner, D., Michel, B., & Parienté, W. , 2022. Evaluating the Impact of Entrepreneurship Edutainment in Egypt: An Experimental Approach. Economica, 89(353), 82-109.