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Red, Blue, and the Flu: Media Self-Selection and Partisan Gaps in Swine Flu Vaccinations

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  • Baum, Matthew A.
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    Abstract

    This study assesses the relationship between political partisanship and attitudes and behavior with respect to the Swine Flu crisis of 2009 in general, and the U.S. mass vaccination program in particular. I argue that even seemingly non-partisan political issues like public health are increasingly characterized by partisan polarization in public attitudes, and that such polarization is in part attributable, at least in part, to the breakdown of the information commons that characterized the American mass media from roughly the 1950s until the early 1990s. In its place has arisen an increasingly fragmented and niche-oriented media marketplace in which individuals are better able to limit their information exposure to attitudes and opinions that reinforce, rather than challenge, their preexisting beliefs. I test my argument against a variety of data sources, including opinion surveys and state level Swine Flu vaccination rate data.

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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/4696292/RWP11-010_Baum.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Harvard Kennedy School of Government in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4696292.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Publication status: Published in HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4696292

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    1. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," NBER Working Papers 12169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "Ideological Segregation Online and Offline," NBER Working Papers 15916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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