Telecracy: Testing for Channels of Persuasion
51 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2012 Last revised: 13 Jul 2014
Date Written: December 22, 2012
We consider the long-lived slant towards Berlusconi in political information on Italian TV. We exploit a shock to the slanted exposure of viewers: idiosyncratic deadlines to switch to digital TV from 2008 to 2012, which increased the number of freeview channels tenfold. The switch caused a drop in the vote share of Berlusconi’s coalition by between 5.5 and 7.5 percentage points. The effect was stronger in towns with older and less educated voters. At least 20% of digital users changed their voting behavior after the introduction of digital TV. Our evidence is consistent with the existence of persuasion-biased viewers.
Keywords: Persuasion, Media Economics, Elections, Behavioral Economics
JEL Classification: D72, L82, D03
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation