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Internet and politics: evidence from U.K. local elections and local government policies

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  • Gavazza, Alessandro
  • Nardotto, Mattia
  • Valletti, Tommaso

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 shows 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

  • Gavazza, Alessandro & Nardotto, Mattia & Valletti, Tommaso, 2019. "Internet and politics: evidence from U.K. local elections and local government policies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87365, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:87365
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    local elections; voter turnout; local government expenditure; media; internet;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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