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Ideological Segregation Online and Offline

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  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro

Abstract

We use individual and aggregate data to ask how the Internet is changing the ideological segregation of the American electorate. Focusing on online news consumption, offline news consumption, and face-to-face social interactions, we define ideological segregation in each domain using standard indices from the literature on racial segregation. We find that ideological segregation of online news consumption is low in absolute terms, higher than the segregation of most offline news consumption, and significantly lower than the segregation of face-to-face interactions with neighbors, co-workers, or family members. We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2011. "Ideological Segregation Online and Offline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1799-1839.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:4:p:1799-1839
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjr044
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Frankel & Oscar Volij, 2005. "Scale-Invariant Measures of Segregation," Economic theory and game theory 018, Oscar Volij.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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