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Media and polarization

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  • Campante, Filipe R.
  • Hojman, Daniel A.

Abstract

This paper sheds light on the links between media and political polarization by looking at the introduction of broadcast TV in the US. We provide causal evidence that broadcast TV decreased the ideological extremism of US representatives. We then show that exposure to radio was associated with decreased polarization. We interpret this result by using a simple framework that identifies two channels linking media environment to politicians' incentives to polarize. First, the ideology effect: changes in the media environment may affect the distribution of citizens' ideological views, with politicians moving their positions accordingly. Second, the motivation effect: the media may affect citizens' political motivation, changing the ideological composition of the electorate and thereby impacting elite polarization while mass polarization is unchanged. The evidence on polarization and turnout is consistent with a prevalence of the ideology effect in the case of TV, as both of them decreased. Increased turnout associated with radio exposure is in turn consistent with a role for the motivation effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 100 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 79-92

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:100:y:2013:i:c:p:79-92

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Media; Political polarization; Turnout; Ideology; TV; Radio;

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References

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  5. Campante, Filipe R. & Hojman, Daniel A., 2013. "Media and polarization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 79-92.
  6. Alan S. Gerber & Dean Karlan & Daniel Bergan, 2009. "Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Gans, Joshua S. & Leigh, Andrew, 2011. "How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant," IZA Discussion Papers 6156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Falck, Oliver & Gold, Robert & Heblich, Stephan, 2012. "E-Lections: Voting Behavior and the Internet," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2012-07, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  4. Campante, Filipe R. & Hojman, Daniel, 2010. "Media and Polarization," Working Paper Series rwp10-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Filipe R. Campante & Ruben Durante & Francesco Sobbrio, 2013. "Politics 2.0: The Multifaceted Effect of Broadband Internet on Political Participation," NBER Working Papers 19029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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