Social Networks, Social Communication and the Demand for News
24 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2015 Last revised: 2 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 19, 2015
We establish a relationship between local social networks, social communication and the demand for news, using the racial composition of localities to infer social networks for minority individuals within a geographic area. Using data from 11,494 African-American and white Twitter users, we demonstrate that a larger local group population increases both the size of users’ online social networks and their supply of information to the network. We further show that a larger peer community increases news demand online, and that the effect cannot be explained solely by the incentives of suppliers. Our results provide an empirical foundation for the transmission of peer effects, and suggest that policies to develop social networks may be more effective than supply interventions in increasing news consumption in digital markets.
Keywords: News, Social Media, Media, Internet, Digitization, Digital Divide
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