The Effect of Fox News on Health Behavior During COVID-19

55 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2020 Last revised: 7 Aug 2020

See all articles by Elliott Ash

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich

Sergio Galletta

University of Bergamo; ETH Zürich

Dominik Hangartner

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); Stanford - Zurich Immigration Policy Lab; Public Policy Group

Yotam Margalit

Tel Aviv University

Matteo Pinna

ETH Zürich

Date Written: June 27, 2020

Abstract

In the early weeks of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Fox News Channel advanced a skeptical narrative that downplayed the risks posed by the virus. We find that this narrative had significant consequences: in localities with higher Fox News viewership — exogenous due to random variation in channel positioning — people were less likely to adopt behaviors geared toward social distancing (e.g., staying at home) and consumed less goods in preparation (e.g., cleaning products, hand sanitizers, masks). Using original survey data, we find that the effect of Fox News came not merely from its long-standing distrustful stance toward science, but also due to program-specific content that minimized the COVID-19 threat.

Suggested Citation

Ash, Elliott and Galletta, Sergio and Hangartner, Dominik and Margalit, Yotam and Pinna, Matteo, The Effect of Fox News on Health Behavior During COVID-19 (June 27, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636762 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636762

Elliott Ash

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Sergio Galletta (Contact Author)

University of Bergamo ( email )

Via Salvecchio, 19
Bergamo, 24129
Italy

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Dominik Hangartner

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

Departments of Government and Methodology
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Stanford - Zurich Immigration Policy Lab

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Public Policy Group ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Yotam Margalit

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Tel Aviv
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://www.ymargalit.net

Matteo Pinna

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zurichbergstrasse 18
Zürich, 8032
Switzerland

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