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Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil

  • Eliana La Ferrara
  • Alberto Chong
  • Suzanne Duryea

We estimate the effect of television on fertility in Brazil, where soap operas portray small families. We exploit differences in the timing of entry into different markets of Globo, the main novela producer. Women living in areas covered by Globo have significantly lower fertility. The effect is strongest for women of lower socioeconomic status and in the central and late phases of fertility, consistent with stopping behavior. The result does not appear to be driven by selection in Globo entry. We provide evidence that novelas, and not just television, affected individual choices, based on children's naming patterns and novela content. (JEL J13, J16, L82, O15, Z13)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 1-31

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:1-31
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.1
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  1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," Working Papers id:642, eSocialSciences.
  3. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto E. Chong, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6760, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221.
  5. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2008. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," NBER Working Papers 13718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Carmen Elisa Florez & Jairo Núñez, 2002. "Teenage Childbearing In Latin American Countries," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003547, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  7. 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.
  8. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
  9. 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.
  10. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," NBER Working Papers 12169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Joseph Potter & Carl Schmertmann & Suzana Cavenaghi, 2002. "Fertility and development: evidence from Brazil," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(4), pages 739-761, November.
  13. Manuelita Ureta & Carlos Filgueira & Naercio Aquino Menezes-Filho & Suzanne Duryea & Richard Obuchi & Lykke E. Andersen & Fernando Filgueira & Josefina Bruni Celli & Carmen Elisa Flórez & Jairo Núñez , 2003. "Critical Decisions at a Critical Age: Adolescents and Young Adults in Latin America," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 42598 edited by Manuelita Ureta & Alejandra Cox Edwards & Suzanne Duryea.
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