Mobile Internet and Political Polarization

69 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021 Last revised: 21 Apr 2023

See all articles by Nikita Melnikov

Nikita Melnikov

Nova School of Business and Economics

Date Written: October 5, 2021


How has mobile internet affected political polarization in the United States? Using Gallup Daily Poll data covering 1,765,114 individuals in 31,499 ZIP codes between 2008 and 2017, I perform a difference-in-differences analysis and an instrumental-variable design to show that, after gaining access to 3G internet, Democratic voters became more liberal in their political views and increased their support for Democratic congressional candidates and policy priorities, while Republican voters shifted in the opposite direction. This increase in political polarization was partly determined by fake news and misinformation consumption among Republican voters and traditional news consumption among Democratic voters.

Keywords: Polarization, internet, social media, 3G, politics

JEL Classification: D72, L86, O3, P16

Suggested Citation

Melnikov, Nikita, Mobile Internet and Political Polarization (October 5, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Nikita Melnikov (Contact Author)

Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Carcavelos
Rua da Holanda, 1
Carcavelos, 2775-405

HOME PAGE: http://

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

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics