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'American Idol' - 65 years of Admiration

Listed author(s):
  • Alan Manning
  • Amar Shanghavi

Since the 1940s Gallup has, every December, asked Americans about the living man and woman they most admire. This paper documents the way in which the types of people who are admired has changed and argues that the responses to this question tells us something about the way in which society has been evolving - the 65 years of data are probably the longest consistent series on social attitudes. We argue on theoretical grounds and show using empirical analysis that admiration can be linked to trust, and specifically that admiring the president is strongly related to trust in government. Using this link we can provide information on trends in trust on a consistent basis back to the late 1940s, earlier than most other data sources. Finally, the paper investigates the link between admiration and media mentions. We show that people who receive a relatively large number of mentions in newspapers in particular year and state are also more likely to be admired by people.

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1320.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1320.

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Date of creation: Dec 2014
Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1320
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Brennan, Geoffrey & Pettit, Philip, 2004. "The Economy of Esteem: An Essay on Civil and Political Society," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199246489.
  4. Newton, Kenneth, 1999. "Mass Media Effects: Mobilization or Media Malaise?," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(04), pages 577-599, September.
  5. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra, 2012. "How much should we trust the World Values Survey trust question?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 210-212.
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