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16. January 2018

Independent Media and Elections: Experimental Evidence from Russia

Ein Vortrag von Michael Rochlitz (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) im Rahmen der Seminarreihe des AB Ökonomie am IOS.
Datum: 16. Januar 2018
Zeit: 13.30 Uhr
Ort: Leibniz-Institut für Ost-und Südosteuropaforschung (IOS), Landshuter Str. 4 (Raum 109)

We conducted two parallel field experiments to test how exposure to independent online media affects voting behavior during the Russian Parliamentary Election in September 2016. We randomly provided free access to independent online media among the citizens of medium size cities in the European part of Russia before the election. In the first experiment, access to the independent TV channel Dozhd was distributed randomly during the first wave of a telephone survey among the survey respondents. In a second survey round after the election, we collected data on the voting behavior of our respondents. We find that respondents who used the free subscription were more likely to cast their ballot and less likely to vote for the incumbent party both on average, and compared to respondents who intended to use the subscription but could not activate subscription codes due to technical problems. Our treatment was also associated with increased perception of electoral manipulations. In a second experiment, we established a free-trial subscription for all internet users located in 20 Russian cities and advertised this option via the Russian social network VKontakte. Similar to the first experiment, we find that free access combined with the advertisement increased the local turnout rate, and reduced the vote for the incumbent party.