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The causal effect of watching TV on material aspirations: Evidence from the “valley of the innocent”

  • Hyll, Walter
  • Schneider, Lutz

The paper addresses the question of whether TV consumption has an impact on material aspirations. We exploit a natural experiment that took place during the period in which Germany was divided. Owing to geographical reasons TV programs from the Federal Republic of Germany could not be received in all parts of the German Democratic Republic. Therefore a natural variation occurred in exposure to West German television. We find robust evidence that watching TV is positively correlated with aspirations. Our identification strategy implies a causal relationship running from TV to aspirations. This conclusion resists various sets of alternative specifications and samples.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 86 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 37-51

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:86:y:2013:i:c:p:37-51
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  15. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Value Surveys," Working Papers 89, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  16. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Watching alone: Relational Goods, Television and Happiness," Working Papers 90, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  17. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2012. "Income, aspirations and the Hedonic Treadmill in a poor society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 67-81.
  18. Easterlin, Richard A., 2001. "Life cycle welfare: evidence and conjecture," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 31-61, January.
  19. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2002. "Why Social Preferences Matter -- The Impact of Non-Selfish Motives on Competition, Cooperation and Incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C1-C33, March.
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