nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2006‒07‒02
one paper chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Universita degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Exposure to foreign media and changes in cultural traits: Evidence from naming patterns in France By Anne-Célia Disdier; Keith Head; Thierry Mayer

  1. By: Anne-Célia Disdier (INRA-INAPG, UMR Economie Publique); Keith Head (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia); Thierry Mayer (Université de Paris Sud, CEP II, PSE, and CEPR)
    Abstract: 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: F15 D19 Z10
    Date: 2006

This nep-cul issue is ©2006 by Roberto Zanola. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.