The Safest Time to Fly: Pandemic Response in the Era of Fox News

46 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2020 Last revised: 12 Feb 2021

See all articles by Maxim Ananyev

Maxim Ananyev

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Michael Poyker

University of Nottingham, School of Economics

Yuan Tian

Carnegie Mellon University

Date Written: January 16, 2021

Abstract

We document a causal effect of conservative Fox News Channel in the United States on physical distancing during COVID-19 pandemic. We measure county-level mobility covering all U.S. states and District of Columbia produced by GPS pings to 15-17 million smartphones and zip-code-level mobility using Facebook location data. Then, using the historical position of Fox News Channel in the cable lineup as the source of exogenous variation, we show that increased exposure to Fox News led to a smaller reduction in distance traveled and smaller increase in the probability to stay home after the national emergency declaration in the United States. Our results show that slanted media can have a harmful effect on containment efforts during a pandemic by affecting people's behaviour.

Keywords: Mobility, Media bias, Fox News, COVID-19

JEL Classification: D1, D7, I31, Z13

Suggested Citation

Ananyev, Maxim and Poyker, Mikhail and Tian, Yuan, The Safest Time to Fly: Pandemic Response in the Era of Fox News (January 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3716025 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3716025

Maxim Ananyev (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Mikhail Poyker

University of Nottingham, School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Yuan Tian

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
77
Abstract Views
546
rank
374,796
PlumX Metrics