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E-Lections: Voting Behavior and the Internet

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Author Info

  • Falck, Oliver

    ()
    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

  • Gold, Robert

    ()
    (Max Planck Institute for Economics)

  • Heblich, Stephan

    ()
    (University of Bristol)

Abstract

This paper analyses the effect of information disseminated by the Internet on voting behavior. We address endogeneity in Internet availability by exploiting regional and technological peculiarities of the preexisting voice telephony network that hinder the roll-out of fixed-line broadband infrastructure for high-speed Internet. We find small negative effects of Internet availability on voter turnout, and no evidence that the Internet systematically benefits single parties. Robustness tests including placebo estimations from the pre-Internet era confirm our results. We relate differences in the Internet effect between national and local elections to a crowding out of national but not local newspapers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6545.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2014, 104 (7), 2238-2265
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6545

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Keywords: elections; political economy; instrumental variables; mass media; internet;

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References

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  1. McMillan, John & Zoido, Paolo, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," CEPR Discussion Papers 4361, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2010. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, and Viewer Responses: Evidence from Berlusconi’s Italy," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.
  3. Felix Oberholzer-Gee & Joel Waldfogel, 2009. "Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2120-28, December.
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  9. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, 01.
  10. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseeable Technological Mistake," IZA Discussion Papers 5747, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Campante, Filipe R. & Hojman, Daniel, 2010. "Media and Polarization," Working Paper Series rwp10-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  12. Stan J. Liebowitz & Alejandro Zentner, 2012. "Clash of the Titans: Does Internet use Reduce Television Viewing?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 234-245, February.
  13. Kolko, Jed, 2012. "Broadband and local growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 100-113.
  14. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2010. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," Working Papers w0149, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  15. Benjamin A. Olken, 2006. "Do Television and Radio Destroy Social Capital? Evidence from Indonesian Villages," Working Papers id:642, eSocialSciences.
  16. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  18. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Piolatto, A. & Schuett, F., 2013. "Media Competition and Electoral Politics," Discussion Paper 2013-072, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2014. "E-participation: social capital and the Internet," MPRA Paper 55722, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. 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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