NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Ideological Segregation Online and Offline

Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse M. Shapiro

NBER Working Paper No. 15916
Issued in April 2010
NBER Program(s):   IO   POL

We use individual and aggregate data to ask how the Internet is changing the ideological segregation of the American electorate. Focusing on online news consumption, offline news consumption, and face-to-face social interactions, we define ideological segregation in each domain using standard indices from the literature on racial segregation. We find that ideological segregation of online news consumption is low in absolute terms, higher than the segregation of most offline news consumption, and significantly lower than the segregation of face-to-face interactions with neighbors, co-workers, or family members. We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15916

Published: “Ideological Segregation Online and Offline” (with Jesse M. Shapiro). Quarterly Journal of Economics. 126(4). November 2011.

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