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Watching TV Is Actually GOOD for Society

Interesting article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. Apparentley, a small cadre of economists using statistical analysis of societies concludes that watching TV is good for you, which breaks with decades of mostly contrary findings from medical and societal researchers.

The article says the economics found that “TV enabled an earlier generation of American children in non-English-speaking households to do better in school, helped rural Indian women to become more independent and contributed to lowering Brazil’s fertility rate.”

The economists found many examples of TV viewing making populations more pro-social, according to the Wall Street Journal. For example, when satellite TV was introduced to rural areas of India that previously lacked TV reception, women became more independent of men and the village cultures became less tolerant of wife beating.

University of Chicago Graduate School of Business economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro argue the TV culture has many benefits, in an article published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Gentzkow doesn’t own a TV set.

Because of the difficulty of isolating persons from TV in today’s media-drenched world, the economists found it was not feasible to conduct experiments. So they analyzed population data with mathematical models designed to isolate issues.

By Robert Marich