We consider the long-lived slant towards Berlusconi in political information on Italian television (TV). We exploit a shock to the slanted exposure of viewers: idiosyncratic deadlines to switch to digital TV from 2008 to 2012, which increased the number of free view channels tenfold. The switch caused a drop in the vote share of Berlusconi's coalition by between 5.5 and 7.5 percentage points. The effect was stronger in towns with older and less educated voters. At least 20 percent of digital users changed their voting behavior after the introduction of digital TV. Our evidence is consistent with the existence of persuasion-biased viewers. (JEL D72, D83, L82, L88)
Barone, Guglielmo, Francesco D'Acunto, and Gaia Narciso.
"Telecracy: Testing for Channels of Persuasion."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
Industry Studies: Services: Government Policy