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Cross-border media and nationalism: Evidence from Serbian radio in Croatia

  • Stefano DellaVigna

    (Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley)

  • Ruben Enikolopov

    (New Economic School, Moscow)

  • Vera Mironova

    (Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland)

  • Maria Petrova

    ()

    (New Economic School, Moscow)

  • Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

    (Paris School of Economics (EHESS) and the New Economic School)

Which factors stand in the way of cooperation between countries formerly at war? We examine the role of nationalistic content of a media outlet reaching citizens of a neighboring country. We consider radio signals travelling across borders in the region that witnessed one of Europe’s deadliest conflicts since WWII: the Serbo-Croatian conflict in the Yugoslavian wars. Using survey and election data, we show that, after a decade since the end of the war, cross-border nationalistic Serbian radio triggers animosity towards Serbs in Croatia, potentially endangering peace. In particular, we find that a large fraction of Croats listen to Serbian radio (intended for Serbian listeners across the border) whenever signal is available. The residents of Croatian villages with good-quality signal of Serbian public radio are more likely to vote for extreme nationalist parties. In addition, ethnically offensive graffiti are more common in villages with Serbian radio reception. A laboratory experiment confirms that Serbian radio exposure causes an increase in anti-Serbian sentiment among Croats.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in its series Working Papers with number w0189.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0189
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