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Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil

Publication Abstract

La Ferrara, Eliana, Alberto Chong, and Suzanne Duryea. 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil." American Economic Journal-Applied Economics, 4(4): 1-31.

We estimate the effect of television on fertility in Brazil, where soap operas portray small families. We exploit differences in the timing of entry into different markets of Globo, the main novela producer. Women living in areas covered by Globo have significantly lower fertility. The effect is strongest for women of lower socioeconomic status and in the central and late phases of fertility, consistent with stopping behavior. The result does not appear to be driven by selection in Globo entry. We provide evidence that novelas, and not just television, affected individual choices, based on children's naming patterns and novela content.

DOI:10.1257/app.4.4.1 (Full Text)

Country of focus: Brazil.

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