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Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies

Discussion Papers 1691, 50 S.

Alessandro Gavazza, Mattia Nardotto, Tommaso Valletti


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Published in: Review of Economic Studies 86 (2019), 5, S. 2092-2135


We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the U.K. Our analysis suggests that the internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e., radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, we find suggestive evidence that local government expenditures and taxes are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings are consistent with the idea that voters' information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies and government size.

Topics: Digitalization

JEL-Classification: D72;C50;L86
Keywords: Internet, newspaper, media, elections, policy
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)