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Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies

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  • Alessandro Gavazza
  • Mattia Nardotto
  • Tommaso Valletti

Abstract

We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the U.K. Our analysis suggests that the internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e., radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, we find suggestive evidence that local government expenditures and taxes are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings are consistent with the idea that voters' information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies and government size.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Gavazza & Mattia Nardotto & Tommaso Valletti, 2017. "Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1691, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1691
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoffman, Mitchell & León, Gianmarco & Lombardi, María, 2017. "Compulsory voting, turnout, and government spending: Evidence from Austria," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 103-115.
    2. 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.
    3. Godefroy, Raphael & Henry, Emeric, 2016. "Voter turnout and fiscal policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 389-406.
    4. Geraci, Andrea & Nardotto, Mattia & Reggiani, Tommaso G. & Sabatini, Fabio, 2018. "Broadband Internet and Social Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 11855, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Müller, Karsten & Schwarz, Carlo, 2018. "Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 373, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Valentino Larcinese & Luke Miner, 2017. "The Political Impact of the Internet on US Presidential Elections," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 63, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    7. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Konstantin Sonin, 2018. "Social Media and Corruption," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 150-174, January.
    8. Hendel, Igal E & Lach, Saul & Spiegel, Yossi, 2015. "Consumers' Activism: the Facebook boycott of Cottage Cheese," CEPR Discussion Papers 10460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Kuroda, Toshifumi & Kido, Daido & Ichikawa,Yoshiharu, 2016. "Does the usage of TV streaming on the Internet bring about new functions to the public service broadcaster? : Evidence from a randomized field experiment," 27th European Regional ITS Conference, Cambridge (UK) 2016 148682, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    10. Andrea Geraci & Mattia Nardotto & Tommaso Reggiani & Fabio Sabatini, 2018. "Broadband Internet and Social Capital," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2018-01, Masaryk University, Faculty of Economics and Administration, revised Dec 2018.
    11. Cag�, Julia, 2017. "Media Competition, Information Provision and Political Participation: Evidence from French Local Newspapers and Elections, 1944-2014," CEPR Discussion Papers 12198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. 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

    Internet; newspaper; media; elections; policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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