Income Inequality, Media Fragmentation, and Increased Political Polarization

22 Pages Posted: 6 May 2020

See all articles by John V. Duca

John V. Duca

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Oberlin College

Jason L. Saving

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Date Written: April 2017

Abstract

The increasing polarization of congressional voting has been linked to legislators' inability to reach consensus on many pressing economic issues. We examine two potential factors driving polarization: greater income inequality and the increasingly fragmented state of American media. Using cointegration techniques, we find evidence indicating that media fragmentation has played a more important role than inequality. Periods of rising media fragmentation are followed by increased polarization. If recent patterns of media structure and income inequality persist, a polarized policymaking environment will likely continue to impede efforts to address major challenges, such as the long‐run fiscal imbalances facing the United States.

JEL Classification: D72, D31

Suggested Citation

Duca, John V. and Saving, Jason L., Income Inequality, Media Fragmentation, and Increased Political Polarization (April 2017). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 35, Issue 2, pp. 392-413, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3593649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/coep.12191

John V. Duca (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

2200 North Pearl Street
PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States

Oberlin College

Oberlin, OH 44074
United States

Jason L. Saving

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

2200 North Pearl Street
PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States

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