June 12, 2008

That Explains The Lukes, But Where Are The Lauras?

A study in the works at Harvard shows that Brazilian telenovelas have an impact--in Brazil, anyway--on lowering fertility rates and on baby name choices. From the abstract:

We focus on fertility choices in Brazil, a country where soap operas (novelas) portray families that are much smaller than in reality. We exploit differences in the timing of entry into different markets of Rede Globo, the network that has an effective monopoly on novelas production in this country. Using Census data for the period 1970-1991, we find that women living in areas covered by the Globo signal have significantly lower fertility... [also,] people living in areas covered by the signal were more likely to name their children after novela characters.
The working version of the paper--which has not yet been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal--is at the Bureau of Research and Economic Analysis of Development, or BREAD [seriously].

Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil [cid.harvard.edu via foreignpolicy via kottke]

2 Comments

I watch Y&R everyday while nursing. In fact, we are watching it right now. I wonder what this means...

Yikes. My son is named Luke . . . .
I bet you can guess what soap opera my mom was obsessed with in the 80's and I, as a result, watched every single day after school . . .
I swear I did not make that connection until. just. now. Again, YIKES.

[wow, sorry you had to find out like this. On the bright side, you didn't name him Erica. -ed.]

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