Political Effects of the Internet and Social Media

Posted: 14 Aug 2020

See all articles by Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Maria Petrova

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE)

Ruben Enikolopov

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

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Date Written: August 1, 2020

Abstract

How do the Internet and social media affect political outcomes? We review empirical evidence from the recent political economy literature, focusing primarily on work that considers traits that distinguish the Internet and social media from traditional off-line 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 fake 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.

Suggested Citation

Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina and Petrova, Maria and Enikolopov, Ruben, Political Effects of the Internet and Social Media (August 1, 2020). Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 12, pp. 415-438, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3669615 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-economics-081919-050239

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Maria Petrova

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

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

Ruben Enikolopov

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 Lluís 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

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