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The Role of Television in Household Debt: Evidence from the 1950's

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Abstract

We examine whether advertising increases household debt by studying the initial expansion of television in the 1950’s. Exploiting the idiosyncratic spread of television across markets, we use microdata from the Survey of Consumer Finances to test whether households with early access to television saw steeper debt increases than households with delayed access. Results indicate that television increases the tendency to borrow for household goods and to carry debt. Television is associated with higher debt levels for durable goods, but not with total non-mortgage debt. The role of media in household debt may be greater than suggested by existing research.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew J. Baker & Lisa M. George, 2009. "The Role of Television in Household Debt: Evidence from the 1950's," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 427, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:htr:hcecon:427
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Television, the root of the crisis?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-12-04 21:15:00
    2. The BBC & household debt
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-10-02 18:01:15
    3. links for 2009-10-05
      by Brad DeLong in Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand on 2009-10-05 13:04:08
    4. Uses of illiteracy
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-09-10 18:58:00

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Television; Debt; Advertising; Life Cycle;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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