Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies

54 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2017 Last revised: 5 Mar 2018

See all articles by Alessandro Gavazza

Alessandro Gavazza

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Mattia Nardotto

University of Cologne - Department of Economics

Tommaso M. Valletti

Imperial College Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: December 2015

Abstract

We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the U.K. Our analysis shows that the internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e., radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, we find suggestive evidence that local government expenditures and taxes are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings are consistent with the idea that voters' information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies and government size.

Keywords: media, voting

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Gavazza, Alessandro and Nardotto, Mattia and Valletti, Tommaso M., Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies (December 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10991. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3039013

Alessandro Gavazza (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Mattia Nardotto

University of Cologne - Department of Economics ( email )

Albertus-Magnus-Platz
Cologne, 50923
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/mattianardotto/Home

Tommaso M. Valletti

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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