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Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil

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  • Chong, Alberto
  • Duryea, Suzanne
  • La Ferrara, Eliana

Abstract

What are the effects of television, and of role models portrayed in TV programs, on individual behavior? We focus on fertility choices in Brazil, a country where soap operas (novelas) portray families that are much smaller than in reality. We exploit differences in the timing of entry into different markets of Rede Globo, the network that has an effective monopoly on novelas production in this country. Using Census data for the period 1970-1991, we find that women living in areas covered by the Globo signal have significantly lower fertility. The effect is strongest for women of lower socioeconomic status and for women in the central and late phases of their fertility cycle, consistent with stopping behavior. The result is robust to placebo treatments and does not appear to be driven by selection in Globo entry. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence that novelas, and not just television, affected individual choices. First, people living in areas covered by the signal were more likely to name their children after novela characters. Second, entry of a network that relied on imported shows did not have a significant impact on fertility.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6785.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6785

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Keywords: development; fertility; television;

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References

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  1. Carmen Elisa Florez & Jairo Núñez, 2002. "Teenage Childbearing In Latin American Countries," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003547, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  2. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2008. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," NBER Working Papers 13718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. DellaVigna, Stefano & Kaplan, Ethan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," Seminar Papers 748, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2007. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," NBER Working Papers 13305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  7. Joseph Potter & Carl Schmertmann & Suzana Cavenaghi, 2002. "Fertility and development: evidence from Brazil," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 739-761, November.
  8. Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 1-33, October.
  9. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study," NBER Working Papers 12021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alberto Chong & Eliana La Ferrara, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," Research Department Publications 4611, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto E. Chong, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," IDB Publications 6760, Inter-American Development Bank.
  12. David Lam & Suzanne Duryea, 1999. "Effects of Schooling on Fertility, Labor Supply, and Investments in Children, with Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 160-192.
  13. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
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  1. Pembe Diziler ve Doğurganlık
    by ? in N. Emrah Aydınonat (Türkçe) on 2008-05-09 12:00:00
  2. Isto a Globo nao mostra
    by Erik Figueiredo in Moral Hazard on 2013-07-15 23:50:00
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