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Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas

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  • Alberto Chong
  • Eliana La Ferrara

Abstract

In this paper we study the link between television and divorce in Brazil. We exploit variation in the timing of availability of the signal of Rede Globo-the network that had a virtual monopoly on telenovelas in the country-across municipal areas. Using three rounds of census data (1970, 1980, and 1991) and controlling for area fixed effects and for time-varying characteristics, we find that the share of women who are separated or divorced increases significantly after the Globo signal becomes available. The effect is robust to controlling for potential determinants of Globo's entry strategy and is stronger for relatively smaller areas, where the signal reaches a higher fraction of the population. (JEL: O1, J12, N36) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:458-468
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094.
    2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
    3. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
    4. 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.
    5. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2009. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 677-734.
    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. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
    8. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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