Journal Article

E-Lections. Voting Behavior and the Internet

American Economic Review, 104(7): 2238-2265

This paper analyses the effects on voting behavior of information disseminated over the Internet. We address endogeneity in Internet availability by exploiting regional and technological peculiarities of the preexisting voice telephony network that hindered the roll-out of fixed-line infrastructure for high-speed Internet. We find negative effects of Internet availability on voter turnout, which we relate to a crowding-out of TV consumption and increased entertainment consumption. We find no evidence that the Internet systematically benefits specific parties, suggesting ideological self-segregation in online information consumption. Robustness tests, including placebo estimations from the pre-Internet period, support a causal interpretation of our results.

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Publication Date
JEL Classification
D72, L82, L86
DOI
10.1257/aer.104.7.2238