London School of Economics EOPP: Economic Organisation and Public Policy Programme LSE
EOPP: Economic Organisation and Public Policy Programme

Abstract for:

The Political Impact of the Internet on US Presidential Elections

Valentino Larcinese, Luke Miner, June 2017
Paper No' EOPP 063: | Full paper (pdf)
Save Reference as: BibTeX BibTeX File | Endote EndNote Import File
Keywords: internet diffusion; political economy of the media; United States elections; turnout; campaign contributions

JEL Classification: D72;L86

Is hard copy/paper copy available? YES - Paper Copy Still In Print.
This Paper is published under the following series: Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers
Share this page: Google Bookmarks Google Bookmarks | Facebook Facebook | Twitter Twitter

Abstract:

What are the political consequences of the diffusion of broadband internet? We address this question by studying the 2008 US presidential election, the first political campaign where the internet played a key role. Drawing on data from the FEC and the FCC, we provide robust evidence that internet penetration in US counties is associated with an increase in turnout, an increase in campaign contributions to the Democrats and an increase in the share of Democratic vote. We then propose an IV strategy to deal with potential endogeneity concerns: we exploit geographic discontinuities along state borders with different right-of-way laws, which constitute the main determinant of the cost of building new infrastructure. IV estimates confirm a positive impact of broadband diffusion on turnout, while the pro-Democratic Party effect of the internet appears to be less robust.