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A Tear in the Iron Curtain: The Impact of Western Television on Consumption Behavior

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  • Leonardo Bursztyn
  • Davide Cantoni

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of exposure to foreign media on the economic behavior of agents in a totalitarian regime. We study private consumption choices focusing on former East Germany, where differential access to Western television was determined by geographic features. Using data collected after the transition to a market economy, we find no evidence of a significant impact of previous exposure to Western television on aggregate consumption levels. However, exposure to Western broadcasts affects the composition of consumption, biasing choices in favor of categories of goods with high intensity of pre-reunification advertisement. The effects vanish by 1998.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Bursztyn & Davide Cantoni, 2014. "A Tear in the Iron Curtain: The Impact of Western Television on Consumption Behavior," NBER Working Papers 20403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20403
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    1. repec:ces:ifodre:v:24:y:2017:i:02:p:31-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ziebarth, Nicolas R. & Wagner, Gert G., 2013. "Top?Down vs. Bottom?Up: The Long?Term Impact of Government Ideology and Personal Experience on Values," IZA Discussion Papers 7279, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    4. Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2013. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the "Children of the Wall"," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 605, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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