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Television Role Models and Fertility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Peter Bönisch
  • Walter Hyll

Abstract

In this paper we study the effect of television exposure on fertility. We exploit a natural experiment that took place in Germany after WWII. For topographical reasons, Western TV programs, which promoted one/no child families, could not be received in certain parts of East Germany. Using an IV approach, we find robust evidence that watching West German TV results in lower fertility. This conclusion is robust to alternative model specifications and data sets. Our results imply that individual fertility decisions are affected by role models or information about other ways of life promoted by media.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Bönisch & Walter Hyll, 2015. "Television Role Models and Fertility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 752, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp752
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    File URL: https://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.504531.de/diw_sp0752.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Edwin Fourrier-Nicolai & Michel Lubrano, 2019. "The Effect of Aspirations on Inequality: Evidence from the German Reunification using Bayesian Growth Incidence Curves," AMSE Working Papers 1914, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    2. Christine Laudenbach & Ulrike Malmendier & Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi, 2020. "The Long-lasting Effects of Living under Communism on Attitudes towards Financial Markets," NBER Working Papers 26818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Friehe, Tim & Müller, Helge & Neumeier, Florian, 2018. "The effect of Western TV on crime: Evidence from East Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 346-372.
    4. Tim Friehe & Helge Mueller & Florian Neumeier, 2017. "Media content's role in the making of a democrat: Evidence from East Germany," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201711, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    5. Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Laudenbach, Christine & Niessen-Ruenzi, Alexandra, 2020. "The Long-lasting Effects of Experiencing Communism on Attitudes towards Financial Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 14939, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural experiment; TV consumption; Fertility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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