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Can Too Much TV Ground You for Life? Television Viewing and Child Outcomes


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  • Samrat Bhattacharya

    (FTAM, Cleveland, Ohio)

  • Abdul Munasib

    (Oklahoma State University)

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    The number of hours a typical child watches the television is almost double the suggested guideline by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). A very large number of studies have claimed an adverse effect of television on children and teenagers. In this paper, we use The National Longitudinal Survey (NLS), a rich, nationally representative data set that allows us to observe the intertemporal variations in television viewing behavior and the child outcome measures. Unlike the previous studies, we account for unobservables at the family and the child level, and find that hours of television viewing does not have any effect on Body Mass Index, or reading and mathematics test scores. Only in case of behavioral problems television does have an adverse effect, but the magnitude is small. Despite the conventional wisdom and the ongoing populist movement towards proactive policies, these findings suggest that an emphasis on policies based on existing studies may be premature.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Oklahoma State University, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business in its series Economics Working Paper Series with number 0803.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:okl:wpaper:0803

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    Related research

    Keywords: Television; child development; test score; behavioral problem; body mass index; overweight; obesity; unobservable characteristics.;

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