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Parents, Television and Cultural Change

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  • Esther Hauk
  • Giovanni Immordino

Abstract

This paper develops a model of cultural transmission where television plays a central role for socialization. Parents split their free time between educating their children which is costly and watching TV which though entertaining might socialize the children to the wrong trait. The free to air television industry maximizes advertisement revenue. We show that TV watching is increasing in cultural coverage, cost of education, TV's entertainment value and decreasing in the perceived cultural distance between the two traits. A monopolistic television industry captures all TV watching by both groups if the perceived cultural distance between groups is small relative to the TV's entertainment value. Otherwise, more coverage will be given to the most profi…table group where profitability increases in group size, advertisement sensitivity and perceived cultural distance. This leads to two possible steady states where one group is larger but both groups survive in the long run. Competition in the media industry might lead to cultural extinction but only if one group is very insensitive to advertisement and not radical enough not to watch TV. We briefly discuss the existing evidence for the empirical predictions of the model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 544.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:544

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Keywords: television; socialization; cultural trait dynamics; media coverage;

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References

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  1. Alberto Chong & Eliana La Ferrara, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," Research Department Publications 4611, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234, 08.
  3. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
  4. Maria Saez-Marti & Anna Sjögren, 2007. "Peers and Culture," IEW - Working Papers 349, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. repec:fth:iniesr:564 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Keith Head & Anne-Célia Disdier & Thierry Mayer, 2009. "Exposure to foreign media and changes in cultural traits: Evidence from naming patterns in France," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10141, Sciences Po.
  7. Crawford, Gregory S. & Cullen, Joseph, 2007. "Bundling, product choice, and efficiency: Should cable television networks be offered a la carte?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 379-404, October.
  8. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094, August.
  9. Ana Cardoso & Elsa Fontainha & Chiara Monfardini, 2010. "Children’s and parents’ time use: empirical evidence on investment in human capital in France, Germany and Italy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 479-504, December.
  10. Peitz, Martin & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2008. "Content and advertising in the media: Pay-tv versus free-to-air," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 949-965, July.
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