Media and Assimilation: Evidence from the Golden Age of Radio
Next ReLunch seminar: Gianluca Russo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), will present
“Media and Assimilation: Evidence from the Golden Age of Radio”
Abstract: In this paper, I argue that exposure to mainstream mass media facilitates immigrants' assimilation. I exploit the rise and expansion of radio broadcasting in the United States after the Age of Mass Migration ended to identify the effect of radio exposure on immigrants' assimilation. I reconstruct radio signal strength and years of exposure to radio via a novel propagation model suitable to AM radio, the only radio technology available at the time. Exploiting the US full count census, I follow pseudo-cohorts of immigrants that are introduced to radio networks and study their naming and wedding patterns. I find that radio networks had a strong effect on immigrants' assimilation. Cohorts exposed longer to radio networks were more likely to marry US born citizens from US born parents. Children of immigrant households exposed to larger network signal had names that were distinctively less foreign. Focusing on names from baseball players, I suggest that aspiration is a key mechanism to explain why radio promoted assimilation. Immigrant households named children only after players that performed particularly well during the season, suggesting they were ''naming for success.''
Tuesday, April 27, 12:30
Online through Webex
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