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Is the Internet Causing Political Polarization? Evidence from Demographics

Listed author(s):
  • Levi Boxell
  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro

We combine nine previously proposed measures to construct an index of political polarization among US adults. We find that the growth in polarization in recent years is largest for the demographic groups least likely to use the internet and social media. For example, our overall index and eight of the nine individual measures show greater increases for those older than 75 than for those aged 18–39. These facts argue against the hypothesis that the internet is a primary driver of rising political polarization.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23258.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23258.

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Date of creation: Mar 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23258
Note: POL
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  1. Liang, Che-Yuan & Nordin, Mattias, 2012. "The Internet, News Consumption, and Political Attitudes," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2012:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Halberstam, Yosh & Knight, Brian, 2016. "Homophily, group size, and the diffusion of political information in social networks: Evidence from Twitter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 73-88.
  3. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2011. "Ideological Segregation Online and Offline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1799-1839.
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