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A Tear in the Iron Curtain: The Impact of Western Television on Consumption Behavior

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  • Bursztyn, Leonardo
  • Cantoni, Davide

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of exposure to foreign media on the economic behavior of agents in a totalitarian regime. We study private consumption choices focusing on former East Germany, where differential access to Western television was determined by geographic features. Using data collected after the transition to a market economy, we find no evidence of a significant impact of previous exposure to Western television on aggregate consumption levels. However, exposure to Western broadcasts affects the composition of consumption, biasing choices in favor of categories of goods with high intensity of pre-reunification advertisement. The effects vanish by 1998.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9101.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9101

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Keywords: Advertising; Communism; Consumption; East Germany; Media; Television;

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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Tesei & Paolo Pinotti & Ruben Durante, 2013. "Voting Alone? The Political and Cultural Consequences of Commercial TV," Sciences Po publications 2013-10, Sciences Po.
  2. Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2014. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the 'Children of the Wall'," CEP Discussion Papers dp1256, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Nicolas R. Ziebarth & Gert G. Wagner, 2013. "Top-down v. Bottom-up: The Long-Term Impact of Government Ideology and Personal Experience on Values," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1280, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Friehe, Tim & Mechtel, Mario, 2014. "Conspicuous consumption and political regimes: Evidence from East and West Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 62-81.
  5. Hennighausen, Tanja, 2012. "Exposure to television and individual beliefs: Evidence from a natural experiment," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-078, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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