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The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting

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Author Info

  • DellaVigna, Stefano

    ()
    (UC Berkeley and NBER)

  • Kaplan, Ethan

    ()
    (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University)

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 US 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 which broadcast Fox News. Fox News also a􀀎ected the Republican vote share in the Senate and voter turnout. 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 non-rational voters subject to persuasion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies in its series Seminar Papers with number 748.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 18 Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0748

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Postal: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-162000
Fax: +46-8-161443
Web page: http://www.iies.su.se/
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  1. Peter M. DeMarzo & Dimitri Vayanos & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 2003. "Persuasion bias, social influence, and uni-dimensional opinions," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 454, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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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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