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Parents, Television and Cultural Change

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Abstract

This paper develops a model of cultural transmission where television plays a central role for socialization. Parents split their free time between educating their children, which is costly, and watching TV which though entertaining might socialize the children to the wrong trait. The free to air television industry maximizes advertisement revenue. We show that TV watching is increasing in cultural coverage, cost of education, TV’s entertainment value and decreasing in the perceived cultural distance between the two traits. A monopolistic television industry captures all TV watching by both groups if the perceived cultural distance between groups is small relative to the TV’s entertainment value. Otherwise, more coverage will be given to the most profitable group where profitability increases in group size, advertisement sensitivity and perceived cultural distance. This leads to two possible steady states where one group is larger but both groups survive in the long run. Competition in the media industry might lead to cultural extinction but only if one group is very insensitive to advertisement and not radical enough not to watch TV. We briefly discuss the existing evidence for the empirical predictions of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Esther Hauk & Giovanni Immordino, 2011. "Parents, Television and Cultural Change," CSEF Working Papers 280, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:280
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    1. María Sáez-Martí & Anna Sjögren, 2008. "Peers and Culture," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, March.
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    10. repec:hhs:iuiwop:564 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    television; socialization; cultural trait dynamics; media coverage;

    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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