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Demand for Slant: How Abstention Shapes Voters' Choice of News Media

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  • Santiago Oliveros
  • Felix Várdy

Abstract

Political commentators warn that the fragmentation of the modern media landscape induces voters to withdraw into ?information cocoons? and segregate along ideological lines. We show that the option to abstain breaks ideological segregation and generates ?cross-over? in news consumption: voters with considerable leanings toward a candidate demand information that is less biased toward that candidate than voters who are more centrist. This non-monotonicity in the demand for slant makes voters? ideologies non-recoverable from their choice of news media and generates disproportionate demand for media outlets that are centrist or only moderately biased. It also implies that polarization of the electorate may lead to ideological moderation in news consumption. Thus, our results cast doubt on the oft-prophesied, imminent demise of mainstream media and may help to explain recent empirical findings showing less ideological segregation in news consumption than predicted by extant theories.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Santiago Oliveros & Felix Várdy, 2015. "Demand for Slant: How Abstention Shapes Voters' Choice of News Media," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(587), pages 1327-1368, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:125:y:2015:i:587:p:1327-1368
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2015.125.issue-587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Piolatto, Amedeo & Schuett, Florian, 2015. "Media competition and electoral politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 80-93.
    2. Gratton, Gabriele, 2014. "Pandering and electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 163-179.
    3. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Kalyan Chatterjee & Jaideep Roy, 2015. "Manufacturing extremism: political consequences of profit-seeking media," Discussion Papers 15-14, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    4. repec:tiu:tiucen:2013072 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Herrera, Helios & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & McMurray, Joseph C., 2016. "The Marginal Voter's Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 11463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. repec:dgr:kubcen:2013072 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Eraslan, Hulya & Ozerturk, Saltuk, 2017. "Information Gatekeeping and Media Bias," Working Papers 17-001, Rice University, Department of Economics.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS

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