Television Role Models and Fertility – Evidence from a Natural Experiment

34 Pages Posted: 28 May 2015

See all articles by Peter Boenisch

Peter Boenisch

Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg

Walter Hyll

Halle Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: April 2015

Abstract

In this paper we study the effect of television exposure on fertility. We exploit a natural experiment that took place in Germany after WWII. For topographical reasons, Western TV programs, which promoted one/no child families, could not be received in certain parts of East Germany. Using an IV approach, we find robust evidence that watching West German TV results in lower fertility. This conclusion is robust to alternative model specifications and data sets. Our results imply that individual fertility decisions are affected by role models or information about other ways of life promoted by media.

Keywords: Natural experiment; TV consumption; Fertility

JEL Classification: C26; D12; J13; L82

Suggested Citation

Boenisch, Peter and Hyll, Walter, Television Role Models and Fertility – Evidence from a Natural Experiment (April 2015). SOEPpaper No. 752. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2611597 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2611597

Peter Boenisch (Contact Author)

Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg ( email )

Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 7
Halle an der Saale
06099 Halle (Saale), DE Sachsen-Anhalt 06099
Germany

Walter Hyll

Halle Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Kleine Maerkerstrasse 8

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