Exposure to Foreign Media and Changes in Cultural Traits: Evidence from Naming Patterns in France
Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano Development Studies Working Paper No. 213
30 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2006
Date Written: May 2006
Free trade in audio-visual services has faced opposition on the grounds that foreign media undermine domestic culture, and ultimately, global diversity. We assess the media-culture link using name frequencies as a measure of tastes. Using a 47-year panel of French birth registries, we first show that names appearing on television shows, movies, or in songs are about five times more popular than other names. Most, but not all, of this relationship arises from endogeneity: song and script writers, as well as performers and their parents, select names that would be popular anyway. Using name attributes, fixed effects, and lagged popularity as controls, our regression results suggest that media affect choices by informing parents of unfamiliar names.
Keywords: Endogenous tastes, Cultural transmission, Television, Cinema, Popular music
JEL Classification: F15, D19, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation