Online Political Information, Electoral Saturation, and Electoral Accountability in Mexico
92 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2021
Date Written: July 1, 2021
While digital platforms have facilitated protests and challenged democratic norms, mass online campaigns could also enhance electoral accountability. We evaluate the electoral impact of non-partisan Facebook ads informing millions of Mexican citizens of municipal expenditure irregularities in 2018. Vote shares of the least malfeasant incumbent parties increased by 6-7 percentage points in directly targeted electoral precincts. This effect was greater where ads targeted 80%---rather than 20%---of the broader municipal electorate. These substantial impacts of high saturation social media campaigns reflect interactions between citizens that spill through social networks, including to untargeted precincts, rather than responses by politicians or media outlets.
Keywords: Accountability, corruption, social spillovers, saturation, media campaigns
JEL Classification: H41, H50, H76, H83, I38
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