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The Political Legacy of Entertainment TV

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Listed:
  • Ruben Durante

    (Département d'économie)

  • Paolo Pinotti

    (Università Bocconi)

  • Andrea Tesei

    (Queen Mary University of London)

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," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/gjf8d7tah8a, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/gjf8d7tah8ah9mq53gkdj73cq
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    Cited by:

    1. Bursztyn, Leonardo & Cantoni, Davide & Funk, Patricia & Yuchtman, Noam, 2017. "Polls, the Press, and Political Participation: The Effects of Anticipated Election Closeness on Voter Turnout," CEPR Discussion Papers 12088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Alessandro Borin & Elisa Macchi & Michele Mancini, 2018. "Eu transfers and euroscepticism: can’t buy me love?," ECON - Working Papers 289, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Fišar, Miloš & Reggiani, Tommaso G. & Sabatini, Fabio & Špalek, Jiří, 2020. "Media Bias and Tax Compliance: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 12938, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Gerling, Lena & Kellermann, Kim Leonie, 2019. "The impact of election information shocks on populist party preferences: Evidence from Germany," CIW Discussion Papers 3/2019, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    5. Alessandro Gavazza & Mattia Nardotto & Tommaso Valletti, 2019. "Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(5), pages 2092-2135.
    6. Marco Manacorda & Andrea Tesei, 2020. "Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(2), pages 533-567, March.
    7. Christina Biedny & Trey Malone & Jayson L. Lusk, 2020. "Exploring Polarization in US Food Policy Opinions," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3), pages 434-454, September.
    8. Ellingsen, Sebastian & Hernæs, Øystein, 2018. "The impact of commercial television on turnout and public policy: Evidence from Norwegian local politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 1-15.
    9. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Konstantin Sonin, 2018. "Social Media and Corruption," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 150-174, January.
    10. Belmonte, Alessandro & Rochlitz, Michael, 2019. "The political economy of collective memories: Evidence from Russian politics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 229-250.
    11. Leonardo Bursztyn & Davide Cantoni & Patricia Funk & Felix Schönenberger & Noam Yuchtman, 2017. "Identifying the Effect of Election Closeness on Voter Turnout: Evidence from Swiss Referenda," NBER Working Papers 23490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Francesco Sobbrio, 2014. "The political economy of news media: theory, evidence and open issues," Chapters, in: Francesco Forte & Ram Mudambi & Pietro Maria Navarra (ed.),A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics, chapter 13, pages 278-320, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Pierre Magontier, 2020. "Does media coverage affect governments’ preparation for natural disasters?," Diskussionsschriften credresearchpaper29, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft - CRED.
    14. Brian Knight & Ana Tribin, 2019. "Opposition Media, State Censorship, and Political Accountability: Evidence from Chavez's Venezuela," NBER Working Papers 25916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Besley, Timothy & Fetzer, Thiemo & Mueller, Hannes, 2019. "Terror and Tourism: The Economic Consequences of Media Coverage," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 449, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    16. Bruno Carvalho & Claudia Custodio & Benny Geys & Diogo Mendes & Susana Peralta, 2020. "Information, Perceptions, and Electoral Behaviour of Young Voters: A Randomised Controlled Experiment," Working Papers ECARES 2020-14, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    17. Marco Manacorda & Andrea Tesei, 2016. "Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa," CESifo Working Paper Series 5904, CESifo.
    18. Arnstein Aassve & Gianmarco Daniele & Marco Le Moglie, 2018. "Never Forget the First Time: The Persistent Effects of Corruption and the Rise of Populism in Italy," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1896, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    19. Mastrorocco, Nicola & Minale, Luigi, 2018. "News media and crime perceptions: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 230-255.
    20. Magontier, Pierre, 2020. "Does media coverage affect governments' preparation for natural disasters?," MPRA Paper 101291, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Poy, Samuele & Schüller, Simone, 2020. "Internet and voting in the social media era: Evidence from a local broadband policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1).
    22. Alejandro Castañeda & César Martinelli, 2018. "Politics, entertainment and business: a multisided model of media," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(3), pages 239-256, March.
    23. Harry Pickard, 2019. "A mailshot in the dark? The impact of the UK government's lea fet on the 2016 EU referendum," Working Papers 2019004, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    24. Pierre Magontier, 2020. "Does media coverage affect governments’preparation for natural disasters?," Working Papers 2020/05, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Television; Entertainment; Voting; Political participation;

    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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