How many kids? Don’t you have a tv?

That is what I say to my mates who have more than two kids…i am always joking…but it seems like many things it has some basis in fact.

Source: Martin Lewis http://bit.ly/16qlt7W

Source: Martin Lewis http://bit.ly/16qlt7W

India’s population will overtake China’s by 2021, putting a huge strain on resources and public services. And though the country’s overall birth rate has fallen a lot, it’s still explosive in rural areas (pdf).

So how to get rural women to have fewer children? As we just discussed, coercive sterilization is probably not the best way to go. But things you might expect to bring the birth rate down, like higher female literacy or urbanization, don’t necessarily seem to do so, as Stanford professor Martin Lewis explains

However, there’s one kinda bizarre thing that does correlate with lower fertility: cable TV.

Over a three-year period, academics Robert Jensen and Emily Oster researched rural villages in five Indian states. They found that once the village got cable TV access, fertility declined within a year (pdf)

Apparently this is also evidenced in Brazil:

This has happened elsewhere too. Fertility dropped markedly as more and more Brazilian villages got on the cable grid (pdf) from 1970 to 1999, according to research by academics Eliana La Ferrara, Alberto Chong, and Suzanne Duryea. Here’s how birth rates declined in Brazil over the years that cable availability spread.


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