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No News, Big News. The political consequences of entertainment TV

Working paper n°: 63

Author(s): Ruben Durante, Paolo Pinotti, Andrea Tesei

Year: 2014

ABSTRACT We investigate the electoral effects of early exposure to Silvio Berlusconi’s commercial television network, Mediaset, exploiting its staggered expansion across Italian munic- ipalities during the 1980s. We find that municipalities with access to Mediaset prior to 1985 exhibited greater support for Berlusconi’s party in 1994, when he first ran for office, and in the four following elections. This effect cannot be attributed to pro- Berlusconi news bias since no news programs were broadcast on Mediaset until 1991, when access to the network was already ubiquitous. We discuss alternative channels through which exposure to non-news content may have influenced Mediaset viewers’ political attitudes.


Ruben Durante

Sciences Po and Yale University

 

Paolo Pinotti

Università Bocconi

 

Andrea Tesei

Queen Mary University

 

Keywords: Mass media, voting, civic engagement

 

The paper may be downloaded here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated 13 July 2015 - 11:42:31