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Compulsory voting and TV news consumption

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  • Bruce, Raphael
  • Lima, Rafael Costa

Abstract

Do people acquire more information when they are encouraged to participate in elections? This paper presents empirical evidence on the effects of compulsory voting laws on the consumption of TV news. In Brazil, literate citizens over the age of eighteen are subject to a number of legal penalties if they fail to turn out on election day. This allows us to identify the causal effect of being under a compulsory voting regime on information acquisition. We find that compulsory voting has a significant and substantial positive impact on the probability of an individual to watch Brazil's main TV newscast. Additionally, the effect is stronger for individuals with neutral evaluations of the incumbent president. Our regression discontinuity results are restricted to young voters who just turned eighteen and are robust to different polynomials and bandwidth lengths.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce, Raphael & Lima, Rafael Costa, 2019. "Compulsory voting and TV news consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 165-179.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:138:y:2019:i:c:p:165-179
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.01.006
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Compulsory voting; Information; Media; Brazil;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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