Information Networks and Collective Action: Evidence from the Women’s Temperance Crusade
94 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 13, 2021
How do social interactions shape collective action, and how are they mediated by networked
information technologies? We answer these questions studying the Temperance Crusade, a wave of anti-liquor protest activity spreading across 29 states between 1873-1874. Relying on exogenous variation in network links generated by railroad accidents, we provide causal evidence of social interactions driving the diffusion of the movement, mediated by rail and telegraph information about neighboring activity. Local newspaper coverage of the Crusade was a key channel mediating these effects. Using an event-study methodology, we find strong complementarities between rail and telegraph networks in driving the movement’s spread.
Keywords: Social interactions, collective action, networks, railroads, telegraph, Temperance Crusade
JEL Classification: D71, D83, D85, N11, N31, N71, N91, O18, R40, Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation