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Exposure to foreign media and changes in cultural traits: evidence from naming patterns in france

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  • Keith Head

    (Sauder School of Business [British Columbia])

  • Anne-Célia Disdier

    (INRA, UMR Economie Publique INRA-AgroParisTech)

  • Thierry Mayer

    (Département d'économie)

Abstract

Free trade in audio-visual services has faced opposition on the grounds that foreign media undermine domestic culture, and ultimately, global diversity. Using a long panel of French birth registries, we assess the media–culture link using name frequencies as a measure of tastes. Controlling for the number of people who currently have a name and unobserved name effects, our regressions show that media influences choices via selective imitation. Parents are much more likely to adopt media names that they associate with youth. Using estimated parameters, we simulate our model of name choice to reveal that, absent foreign media, fewer than 5% of French babies would have been named differently. Our simulations also suggest a positive effect of foreign media on the welfare of parents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8mcn8chn.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Publication status: Published in Journal of International Economics, 2011
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8mcn8chn

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  1. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2006. "Exposure to foreign media and changes in cultural traits: Evidence from naming patterns in France," Development Working Papers 213, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. Bala, Venkatesh & Van Long, Ngo, 2005. "International trade and cultural diversity with preference selection," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 143-162, March.
  3. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  4. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," DELTA Working Papers 97-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-64, November.
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