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Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas

  • Alberto Chong
  • Eliana La Ferrara

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.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 458-468

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:458-468
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  1. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2009. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 677-734, May.
  2. 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.
  3. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," Research Papers 1828, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  4. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2008. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," Research Department Publications 4573, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  5. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," NBER Working Papers 12561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Joseph Potter & Carl Schmertmann & Suzana Cavenaghi, 2002. "Fertility and development: evidence from Brazil," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 739-761, November.
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