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13 Apr 20

Television and the Labour Supply: Evidence from the Digital Television Transition in the UK.

Authors: Nieto Castro Adrian.

Abstract: This paper exploits exogenous variation in the date of transition from analogue to digital television signal in the UK across more than 40,000 geographical units to investigate the causal impact of television on employment probabilities and potential mechanisms. Using a large individual panel survey dataset and a difference-in-differences model that compares the outcomes of adults living in regions where the switchover occurred in different years, I find that the digital transition increases employment probabilities. The impact is driven by mothers and is due to an increase in part-time and self-employment. The effect increases with the number of children in a household and when the parent does not cohabit with a partner. A possible explanation for these results is that television keeps children busy, reducing the amount of housework that parents need to do and allowing them to focus on their careers. I test whether the digital transition reduces the time that individuals dedicate to housework and show that this is the case for mothers but not for fathers and non-parents. I find no effect on time allocation other than via housework.

Reference: Nieto Castro Adrian. Television and the Labour Supply: Evidence from the Digital Television Transition in the UK. LISER, 2020, Working Papers n°2020-04, 44 p.

Keywords:
labour supply,
housework,
leisure,
gender equality,
digital transition,
television

JEL: J01, J16, J22.