Working Papers

Fog or Smog? The Impact of Uncensored Reporting on Pollution on Individuals' Environmental Awareness

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of exposure to foreign mass media on environmental awareness and pro-environmental behavior. We exploit a natural experiment occurring in the German Democratic Republic, where the reception of West German television was determined by geographic characteristics. Western media was a source of information about environmental pollution in the German Democratic Republic, a topic that was not covered in the East German state media due to systematic censorship. Using survey data conducted before the German reunification, we find that access to Western media increased the environmental awareness among German Democratic Republic citizens. The analysis of data from the German Socio-Economic Panel supports this finding and reveals a positive and persistent effect on the probability of being active in environmental organizations. Finally, by examining election data, we show that counties with former West German television reception were more likely to vote for the Greens in the first two federal elections in reunified Germany.

Presented at: International Conference on "The Political Economy of Democracy and Dictatorship"  (February 2023), CESifo Area Conference on Energy and Climate Economics (March 2023), EPCS (March 2023), RES & SES 2023 Annual Conference (April 2023), ESPE (June 2023), Asian Meeting of the ES (June 2023), EEA-ESEM Congress (August 2023), VfS (September 2023),  ASSA (January 2024)

Television and Family Demography: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in East Germany

Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term causal effects of television exposure on marriage, divorce, and birth rates. We exploit the fact that individuals in some East German areas could not receive Western television due to their place of residence before the reunification in 1990. By analyzing survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, our results show that Western television exposure reduces an individual's likelihood of being married or having children and increases the probability of being divorced. While the analysis of administrative county-level data supports these findings, survey data from the late 1980s indicates that Western television programs mainly influenced women's attitudes toward relationships and family planning.

Presented at: AIEL (September 2020), VfS (September 2020), INFER (December 2020), ASSA (January 2021), EPCS (April 2021), SES (April 2021), SOLE (May 2021), ESPE (June 2021), Asian Meeting of the ES (June 2021), Australasian Meeting of the ES (July 2021), Brucchi Luchino Labor Economics Workshop (December 2021), AASLE (December 2023)

Television and Labor Supply (with Adrian Chadi and Manuel Hoffmann)

Abstract:  Television is a major spare-time activity with the potential to lower economic activity but also to manipulate behavior by changing preferences and social norms through role models. To provide a comprehensive investigation into the impacts of television on the labor market, we study two natural experiments providing variation in access to television broadcasts. First, we leverage a setting in West Germany, where individuals in some regions could watch commercial television via terrestrial frequencies while others could only watch public TV. By analyzing rich panel data, we provide evidence inconsistent with the notion of negative impacts on labor market outcomes. Instead, we find positive effects on the labor supply among females. This employment premium has limited monetary consequences for females, which could be due to gender-specific occupational choices. To better understand the mechanisms and to examine long-run effects, we exploit a setting in East Germany, where for decades, citizens in most areas had access to Western public TV with its emphasis on conservative and family-oriented values, except for those areas where only state-run socialist television with a focus on full employment was available. By analyzing several datasets, we provide evidence on the beliefs of East Germans about the role of women in the labor market, which could explain the persistent effects of TV on the female labor supply and gender equality in labor market participation. It appears that Eastern socialist TV shares a surprising similarity with today’s dominant form of Western free-market TV: they both encourage women to work.

Presented at: ESPE (June 2022), Asian Meeting of the ES (June 2022),  SOEP User Conference (July 2022), Asian Meeting of the ES in East and South-East Asia (August 2022), EALE (September 2022), VfS (September 2022), CESifo Area Conference on the Economics of Digitization (November 2022), ASSA (January 2023), SOLE (May 2023), EEA-ESEM Congress (August 2023)

Work in Progress

A Neglected Determinant of Eating Behaviors: Relative Age (with Luca Fumarco and Francesco Principe)

School Starting Age and Educational Mismatch (with Theresa Geißler)