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Ideological Segregation Online and Offline

  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro

We use individual and aggregate data to ask how the Internet is changing the ideological segregation of the American electorate. Focusing on online news consumption, offline news consumption, and face-to-face social interactions, we define ideological segregation in each domain using standard indices from the literature on racial segregation. We find that ideological segregation of online news consumption is low in absolute terms, higher than the segregation of most offline news consumption, and significantly lower than the segregation of face-to-face interactions with neighbors, co-workers, or family members. We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15916.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as “Ideological Segregation Online and Offline” (with Jesse M. Shapiro). Quarterly Journal of Economics. 126(4). November 2011.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15916
Note: IO POL
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  1. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
  2. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence from U.S. Daily Newspapers," NBER Working Papers 12707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Frankel & Oscar Volij, 2005. "Scale-Invariant Measures of Segregation," Economic theory and game theory 018, Oscar Volij.
  4. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse Shapiro, 2005. "Media Bias and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 11664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Media Bias," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1981, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221.
  7. Stone, Daniel F., 2011. "Ideological media bias," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 256-271, May.
  8. Brian G. Knight & Chun-Fang Chiang, 2008. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," NBER Working Papers 14445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Bryce A. Ward, 2006. "Myths and Realities of American Political Geography," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 119-144, Spring.
  10. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," NBER Working Papers 12169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Edward L. Glaeser & Bryce A. Ward, 2006. "Myths and Realities of American Political Geography," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2100, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
  13. Yildiz, Muhamet & Acemoglu, Daron & Chernozhukov, Victor, 2016. "Fragility of asymptotic agreement under Bayesian learning," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(1), January.
  14. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2008. "Competition and Truth in the Market for News," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 133-154, Spring.
  15. Sobbrio, Francesco, 2009. "A Citizens-Editors Model of News Media," MPRA Paper 18213, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ward, Bryce A., 2006. "Myths and Realities of American Political Geography," Working Paper Series rwp06-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  17. Francesco Sobbrio, 2012. "A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/61, European University Institute.
  18. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
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