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The Safest Time to Fly: Pandemic Response in the Era of Fox News

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  • Ananyev, Maxim
  • Poyker, Michael
  • Tian, Yuan

Abstract

We document a causal effect of conservative Fox News Channel in the United States on physical distancing during COVID-19 pandemic. We measure county-level mobility covering all U.S. states and District of Columbia produced by GPS pings to 15-17 million smartphones and zip-code-level mobility using Facebook location data. Then, using the historical position of Fox News Channel in the cable lineup as the source of exogenous variation, we show that increased exposure to Fox News led to a smaller reduction in distance traveled and smaller increase in the probability to stay home after the national emergency declaration in the United States. Our results show that slanted media can have a harmful effect on containment efforts during a pandemic by affecting people's behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Ananyev, Maxim & Poyker, Michael & Tian, Yuan, 2020. "The Safest Time to Fly: Pandemic Response in the Era of Fox News," GLO Discussion Paper Series 742, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:742
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    Cited by:

    1. Maxim Ananyev & Michael Poyker & Yuan Tian, 2021. "The safest time to fly: pandemic response in the era of Fox News," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(3), pages 775-802, July.
    2. Deopa, Neha & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe, 2021. "Coronagraben in Switzerland: Culture and social distancing in times of COVID-19," GLO Discussion Paper Series 857, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Neha Deopa & Piergiuseppe Fortunato, 2021. "Coronagraben in Switzerland: culture and social distancing in times of COVID-19," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 1355-1383, October.
    4. Yuan Tian & Maria Esther Caballero & Brian K. Kovak, 2020. "Social Learning along International Migrant Networks," NBER Working Papers 27679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Egorov, Georgy & Enikolopov, Ruben & Makarin, Alexey & Petrova, Maria, 2021. "Divided we stay home: Social distancing and ethnic diversity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    6. Yuan Tian & Maria Esther Caballero & Brian K. Kovak, 2020. "Social learning along international migrant networks," Discussion Papers 2020-12, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    7. Tian, Yuan & Caballero, Maria Esther & Kovak, Brian K., 2020. "Social Learning along International Migrant Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 13574, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mobility; Media Bias; Fox News; COVID-19;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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