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Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?

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  • Felix Oberholzer-Gee
  • Joel Waldfogel

Abstract

In the past decade Americans have increasingly turned their attention to nonlocal information sources, raising concerns about disengagement from local communities. Regulation sometimes seeks to curtail the integration of media markets through the promotion of "localism." This paper examines the role of local media. We make use of the rapid growth of Hispanic communities in the United States to test whether the presence of local television news affects local civic behavior. We find that Hispanic voter turnout increased by 5 to 10 percentage points, relative to non-Hispanic turnout, in markets where Spanish-language local television news became available. (JEL D72, J15, L82)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2120-28

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:5:p:2120-28

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.5.2120
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  1. David Str–mberg, 2004. "Mass Media Competition, Political Competition, and Public Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 265-284, 01.
  2. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," NBER Working Papers 12169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," NBER Working Papers 12561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lisa George & Joel Waldfogel, 2003. "Who Affects Whom in Daily Newspaper Markets?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 765-784, August.
  5. Waldfogel, Joel, 2003. " Preference Externalities: An Empirical Study of Who Benefits Whom in Differentiated-Product Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 557-68, Autumn.
  6. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
  7. Barry Nalebuff & Roni Shachar, 1997. "Follow The Leader: Theory And Evidence On Political Participation," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm57, Yale School of Management.
  8. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  9. Gerber, Alan & Karlan, Dean & Bergan, Daniel, 2006. "Does The Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," Working Papers 12, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  10. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. " Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-46, March.
  11. Oberholzer-Gee, Felix & Waldfogel, Joel, 2005. "Strength in Numbers: Group Size and Political Mobilization," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 73-91, April.
  12. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  13. Lisa George & Joel Waldfogel, 2000. "Who Benefits Whom in Daily Newspaper Markets?," NBER Working Papers 7944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Timothy J. Fedderson & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Abstention in Elections with Asymmetric Information and Diverse Preferences," Discussion Papers 1195, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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