American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
no. 4, October 2023
This paper shows that partisan cable news broadcasts have a causal effect on the size and composition of budgets in US localities. Using exogenous channel positioning as an instrument for viewership, we show that exposure to the conservative Fox News channel reduces revenues and expenditures. Multiple mechanisms drive these results: Fox News improves election chances for local Republicans, alters politician campaign agendas, and shifts voter policy preferences on fiscal issues. Consistent with the priorities of small-government conservatism, we find evidence that private provision compensates for the reduced public services. The "Fox News effect" extends beyond vote shares to rightward policy shifts.
Ash, Elliott, and Sergio Galletta.
"How Cable News Reshaped Local Government."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
State and Local Budget and Expenditures
State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions
Education and Research Institutions: General