IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cross-Country Trends in Affective Polarization


  • Levi Boxell
  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro


We measure trends in affective polarization in nine OECD countries over the past four decades. The US experienced the largest increase in polarization over this period. Three countries experienced a smaller increase in polarization. Five countries experienced a decrease in polarization. These findings are most consistent with explanations of polarization based on changes that are more distinctive to the US (e.g., changing party composition, growing racial divisions, the emergence of partisan cable news), and less consistent with explanations based on changes that are more universal (e.g., the emergence of the internet, rising economic inequality).

Suggested Citation

  • Levi Boxell & Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2020. "Cross-Country Trends in Affective Polarization," NBER Working Papers 26669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26669
    Note: POL

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at Free access is also available to older working papers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Scott R. Baker & Aniket Baksy & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis & Jonathan A. Rodden, 2020. "Elections, Political Polarization, and Economic Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 27961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sandra García-Uribe & Hannes Mueller & Carlos Sanz, 2021. "Economic Uncertainty and Divisive Politics: Evidence from the dos Españas," Working Papers 1240, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Darya Korlyakova, 2021. "Learning about Ethnic Discrimination from Different Information Sources," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp689, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    4. Benjamin Enke & Ricardo Rodríguez-Padilla & Florian Zimmermann, 2019. "Moral Universalism and the Structure of Ideology," CESifo Working Paper Series 7924, CESifo.
    5. Van Effenterre, Clémentine, 2020. "Papa does preach: Daughters and polarization of attitudes toward abortion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 188-201.
    6. Guilmi, Corrado Di & Galanis, Giorgos, 2020. "Convergence and divergence in dynamic voting with inequality," CRETA Online Discussion Paper Series 61, Centre for Research in Economic Theory and its Applications CRETA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26669. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.