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Politics 2.0: The Multifaceted Effect of Broadband Internet on Political Participation

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  • Filipe R. Campante
  • Ruben Durante
  • Francesco Sobbrio

Abstract

We investigate the causal impact of broadband Internet on political participation using data from Italy. We show that this impact varies across different forms of political engagement and over time. Initially, broadband had a negative effect on turnout in national elections, driven by increased abstention of ideologically extreme voters. Meanwhile, however, broadband fostered other forms of online and offline participation. Over time, the negative effect was reverted due to the emergence of new political entrepreneurs who used the Internet to convert the initial “exit” back into “voice”. Overall, these nuanced effects underscore the general equilibrium dynamic induced by the Internet.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19029.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19029

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  1. Campante, Filipe R. & Hojman, Daniel A., 2013. "Media and polarization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 79-92.
  2. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2009. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 15298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. George Lisa M, 2008. "The Internet and the Market for Daily Newspapers," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-33, July.
  4. Nina Czernich, 2011. "Broadband Internet and Political Participation - Evidence for Germany," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 104, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  5. Oliver Falck & Robert Gold & Stephan Heblich, 2014. "E-lections: Voting Behavior and the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2238-65, July.
  6. Enikolopov, Ruben & Petrova, Maria & Sonin, Konstantin, 2012. "Do Political Blogs Matter? Corruption in State-Controlled Companies, Blog Postings, and DDoS Attacks," CEPR Discussion Papers 9169, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  8. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  9. Castanheira, Micael, 2002. "Why Vote for Losers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3404, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Oecd, 2001. "The Development of Broadband Access in the OECD Countries," OECD Digital Economy Papers 56, OECD Publishing.
  11. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234, 08.
  12. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  13. Matthew Ellman & Fabrizio Germano, 2009. "What do the Papers Sell? A Model of Advertising and Media Bias," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 680-704, 04.
  14. 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.
  15. Ronny Razin, 2003. "Signaling and Election Motivations in a Voting Model with Common Values and Responsive Candidates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1083-1119, 07.
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