How does mobile broadband internet affect the political landscape of autocracies and democracies and political attitudes of people? How do fake news affect political attitudes and what is the role of fact-checking in circulating the fake news and in changing political attitudes?
The lecture will describe the results of recent studies of Ekaterina Zhuravskaya with a number of co-authors that address these important questions. Using Gallup World Poll surveys and the exogenous sources of variation in the global expansion of mobile broadband networks, one of these studies shows that, on average, an increase in mobile broadband internet access reduces government approval. This effect is present only when the internet is not censored, and it is stronger when the traditional media are censored. Mobile broadband helps expose actual corruption in government: revelations of the Panama Papers and other corruption incidents translate into higher perceptions of corruption in regions covered by 3G networks. Voter disillusionment had electoral implications: In Europe, 3G expansion led to lower vote shares for incumbent parties and higher vote shares for the anti-establishment populist opposition. Vote shares for non-populist opposition parties were unaffected by 3G expansion. Two other studies conduct online experiments with exposure to fake news, their fact-checking, and circulation of them on social media.
About the speaker
Ekaterina Zhuravskaya is Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics (EHESS) since 2010. She is also a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in Public Policy and Development Economics programs. She got her PhD at Harvard University in 1999 and spent the 10 subsequent years working as Professor at the New Economic School in Moscow. Her main academic interests are in political economy. Her ERC project ‘The Economics of Ethnic Prejudice’ studies the factors that make ethnic diversity important for conflict and economic development. The first sub-project uses forced mass movements of ethnic groups in Eastern Europe and from Eastern Europe to Central Asia as a result of WWII to test social psychology theories of ethnic identity. The second sub-project studies how ethnic occupational segregation affects ethnic tensions in the context of historical anti-Jewish violence in 19th and 20th century Eastern Europe. The third sub-project focuses on the effects of political manipulation on ethnic conflict in the context of the historical experiment of nation-building in Central Asia. It studies how political empowerment of a certain ethnic elite in a multi-ethnic traditional society coupled with a set of nation-building policies affects ethnic conflicts depending on the pre-existing ethnic mix and the distribution of political power among ethnic elite.
Zoom link will be sent after registration. The deadline for registration is 11 May, 12.00 CEST.