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The Political Legacy of Entertainment TV

Author

Listed:
  • Ruben Durante

    (Sciences Po and CEPR)

  • Paolo Pinotti

    (Bocconi University and DONDENA Center)

  • Andrea Tesei

    (Queen Mary University of London and CEP (LSE))

Abstract

We investigate the political impact of entertainment television in Italy over the past thirty years by exploiting the staggered introduction of Silvio Berlusconi's commercial TV network, Mediaset, in the early 1980s. We find that individuals in municipalities that had access to Mediaset prior to 1985 - when the network only featured light entertainment programs - were significantly more likely to vote for Berlusconi's party in 1994, when he first ran for office. This effect persists for almost two decades and five elections, and is especially pronounced for heavy TV viewers, namely the very young and the old. We relate the extreme persistence of the effect to the relative incidence of these age groups in the voting population, and explore different mechanisms through which early exposure to entertainment content may have influenced their political attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruben Durante & Paolo Pinotti & Andrea Tesei, 2015. "The Political Legacy of Entertainment TV," Working Papers 762, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:762
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Television; Entertainment; Voting; Political participation; Italy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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