The Persuasive Effect of Fox News: Non-Compliance with Social Distancing During the Covid-19 Pandemic

70 Pages Posted: 26 May 2020 Last revised: 3 Dec 2020

See all articles by Andrey Simonov

Andrey Simonov

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Szymon Sacher

Columbia University, Department of Economics

Jean-Pierre Dubé

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Marketing Science Institute (MSI)

Shirsho Biswas

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

We test for and measure the effects of cable news in the US on regional differences in compliance with recommendations by health experts to practice social distancing during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We use a quasi-experimental design to estimate the causal effect of Fox News viewership on stay-at-home behavior by using only the incremental local viewership due to the quasi-random assignment of channel positions in a local cable line-up. We find that a 10% increase in Fox News cable viewership (approximately 0:13 higher viewer rating points) leads to a 1.3 percentage point reduction in the propensity to stay at home. We find a persuasion rate of Fox News on non-compliance with stay-at-home behavior during the crisis of about 5:7% - 28:4% across our various social distancing metrics.

Suggested Citation

Simonov, Andrey and Sacher, Szymon and Dube, Jean-Pierre H. and Biswas, Shirsho, The Persuasive Effect of Fox News: Non-Compliance with Social Distancing During the Covid-19 Pandemic (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27237, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3609690

Andrey Simonov (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

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Szymon Sacher

Columbia University, Department of Economics ( email )

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Jean-Pierre H. Dube

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
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HOME PAGE: http://gsb.uchicago.edu/fac/jean-pierre.dube

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Marketing Science Institute (MSI) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138-5396
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Shirsho Biswas

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

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