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Internet and Voting in the Web 2.0 Era: Evidence from a Local Broadband Policy

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  • Samuele Poy
  • Simone Schüller

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Abstract

This article analyzes the impact of a local broadband expansion policy on electoral turnout and party vote share. We exploit a unique policy intervention involving staged broadband infrastructure installation across rural municipalities in the Province of Trento (Italy), thus generating a source of exogenous (spatial and temporal) variation in the provision of advanced broadband technology (ADSL2+). Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we find positive effects of broadband availability on overall electoral turnout at national parliamentary elections. Party vote share analysis shows significant shifts across the ideological spectrum. These shifts, however, are likely transitory rather than persistent. Placebo estimations support a causal interpretation of our results. We provide further evidence that broadband availability is linked to actual adoption in that the broadband policy increased overall Internet and broadband take-up among private households.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuele Poy & Simone Schüller, 2016. "Internet and Voting in the Web 2.0 Era: Evidence from a Local Broadband Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 6129, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6129
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schwarz, Marco A., 2017. "The Impact of Social Media On Belief Formation," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 57, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Valentino Larcinese & Luke Miner, 2018. "Was Obama Elected by the Internet? Broadband Diffusion and Voters' Behavior in US Presidential Elections," CESifo Working Paper Series 6882, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    broadband internet; political participation; voting behavior; quasi-natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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