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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094, August.
  2. Jairo Núñez & Carmen Elisa Flórez, 2001. "Teenage Childbearing in Latin American Countries," Research Department Publications 3131, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Joseph Potter & Carl Schmertmann & Suzana Cavenaghi, 2002. "Fertility and development: evidence from Brazil," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 739-761, November.
  4. Alberto Chong & Eliana La Ferrara, 2009. "Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 458-468, 04-05.
  5. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy Of Government Responsiveness: Theory And Evidence From India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451, November.
  6. Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 1-33, October.
  7. 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, October.
  8. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  9. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  10. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234, 08.
  11. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2007. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001778, David K. Levine.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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