NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Levi Boxell

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
366 Galvez St
Stanford, CA 94305

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2017Is the Internet Causing Political Polarization? Evidence from Demographics
with Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse M. Shapiro: w23258
We combine nine previously proposed measures to construct an index of political polarization among US adults. We find that the growth in polarization in recent years is largest for the demographic groups least likely to use the internet and social media. For example, our overall index and eight of the nine individual measures show greater increases for those older than 75 than for those aged 18–39. These facts argue against the hypothesis that the internet is a primary driver of rising political polarization.
 
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