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The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting

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  • Stefano DellaVigna
  • Ethan Kaplan

Abstract

Does media bias affect voting? We analyze the entry of Fox News in cable markets and its impact on voting. Between October 1996 and November 2000, the conservative Fox News Channel was introduced in the cable programming of 20 percent of U. S. towns. Fox News availability in 2000 appears to be largely idiosyncratic, conditional on a set of controls. Using a data set of voting data for 9,256 towns, we investigate if Republicans gained vote share in towns where Fox News entered the cable market by the year 2000. We find a significant effect of the introduction of Fox News on the vote share in Presidential elections between 1996 and 2000. Republicans gained 0.4 to 0.7 percentage points in the towns that broadcast Fox News. Fox News also affected voter turnout and the Republican vote share in the Senate. Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 28 percent of its viewers to vote Republican, depending on the audience measure. The Fox News effect could be a temporary learning effect for rational voters, or a permanent effect for nonrational voters subject to persuasion. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 122 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 1187-1234

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:3:p:1187-1234

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. What media influence?
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-11-10 14:24:53
  2. The media & voting
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2008-06-07 13:24:39
  3. Ignore the newspapers
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-10-07 13:43:11
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