Political Effects of the Internet and Social Media

33 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2019 Last revised: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Ruben Enikolopov

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance; New Economic School; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona GSE

Maria Petrova

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE)

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

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Date Written: September 2019

Abstract

How do the internet and social media affect political outcomes? We review empirical evidence from the recent political-economy literature, focusing primarily on the work that considers traits that distinguish the internet and social media from traditional offline media, such as low barriers to entry and reliance on user-generated content. We discuss the main results about the effects of the internet, in general, and social media, in particular, on voting, street protests, attitudes toward government, political polarization, xenophobia, and politicians' behavior. We also review evidence on the role of social media in the dissemination of false news, and we summarize results about the strategies employed by autocratic regimes to censor the internet and to use social media for surveillance and propaganda. We conclude by highlighting open questions about how the internet and social media shape politics in democracies and autocracies.

Keywords: internet, social media, survey

Suggested Citation

Enikolopov, Ruben and Petrova, Maria and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Political Effects of the Internet and Social Media (September 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13996. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3464524

Ruben Enikolopov (Contact Author)

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

Skolkovskoe shosse 45
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

ICREA ( email )

Passeig LluĂ­s Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Maria Petrova

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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