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Television and Divorce: Evidence from Brazilian Novelas

  • Alberto Chong


  • Eliana La Ferrara

This paper studies the link between television and divorce in Brazil by exploiting 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, the paper finds 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.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4611.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4611
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  1. 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.
  2. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," Working Papers id:642, eSocialSciences.
  3. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2007. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001778, David K. Levine.
  4. 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.
  5. Joseph Potter & Carl Schmertmann & Suzana Cavenaghi, 2002. "Fertility and development: evidence from Brazil," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 739-761, November.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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