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Exposure to foreign media and changes in cultural traits: evidence from naming patterns in france

  • Anne-Célia Disdier

    (Economie Publique)

  • Keith Head

    (Sauder School of Business [British Columbia])

  • Thierry Mayer

    (Département d'économie)

Free trade in audio-visual services has faced opposition on the grounds that foreign media undermine domestic culture, and ultimately, global diversity. Using a long panel of French birth registries, we assess the media–culture link using name frequencies as a measure of tastes. Controlling for the number of people who currently have a name and unobserved name effects, our regressions show that media influences choices via selective imitation. Parents are much more likely to adopt media names that they associate with youth. Using estimated parameters, we simulate our model of name choice to reveal that, absent foreign media, fewer than 5% of French babies would have been named differently. Our simulations also suggest a positive effect of foreign media on the welfare of parents.

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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8mcn8chn.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Publication status: Published in Journal of International Economics, 2011
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8mcn8chn
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.sciencespo.fr/

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  1. Bala, Venkatesh & Van Long, Ngo, 2005. "International trade and cultural diversity with preference selection," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 143-162, March.
  2. David N. Figlio, 2005. "Names, Expectations and the Black-White Test Score Gap," NBER Working Papers 11195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eckhard Janeba, 2004. "International Trade and Cultural Identity," NBER Working Papers 10426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Disdier, Anne-Célia & Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry, 2006. "Exposure to Foreign Media and Changes in Cultural Traits: Evidence from Naming Patterns in France," CEPR Discussion Papers 5674, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 767-805, August.
  6. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2009. "Neckties in the tropics: a model of international trade and cultural diversity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 809-843, August.
  7. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5505, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are emily and greg more employable than lakisha and jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination," Natural Field Experiments 00216, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. Maystre, Nicolas & Olivier, Jacques & Thoenig, Mathias & Verdier, Thierry, 2009. "Product-Based Cultural Change: Is the Village Global?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7438, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2008. "Detection of local interactions from the spatial pattern of names in France," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10161, Sciences Po.
  11. Andreu Mas-Colell, 1999. "Should Cultural Goods Be Treated Differently?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 87-93, March.
  12. Janeba, Eckhard, 2007. "International trade and consumption network externalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 781-803, May.
  13. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
  14. Olivier, Jacques & Thoenig, Mathias & Verdier, Thierry, 2008. "Globalization and the dynamics of cultural identity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 356-370, December.
  15. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  16. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-64, November.
  17. repec:hal:journl:hal-00266554 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Francois, Patrick & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2002. "On the protection of cultural goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 359-369, March.
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