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The Role of Television in Household Debt: Evidence from the 1950's

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Abstract

We examine whether advertising increases household debt by studying the initial expansion of television in the 1950’s. Exploiting the idiosyncratic spread of television across markets, we use microdata from the Survey of Consumer Finances to test whether households with early access to television saw steeper debt increases than households with delayed access. Results indicate that television increases the tendency to borrow for household goods and to carry debt. Television is associated with higher debt levels for durable goods, but not with total non-mortgage debt. The role of media in household debt may be greater than suggested by existing research.

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Paper provided by Hunter College: Department of Economics in its series Hunter College Department of Economics Working Papers with number 427.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:htr:hcecon:427

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Keywords: Television; Debt; Advertising; Life Cycle;

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Television, the root of the crisis?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-12-04 15:15:00
  2. The BBC & household debt
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-10-02 13:01:15
  3. links for 2009-10-05
    by Brad DeLong in Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand on 2009-10-05 08:04:08

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