Program on Political Economy Seminar

Date: 

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 4:30pm to 5:45pm

Location: 

Zoom

Zoom links for Political Economy Seminar are distributed via the seminar's mailing list. You can sign up for the list using this link: https://lists.iq.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/ppe_list

All interested faculty and students are invited to attend.

Today's presenter:

Michela Redoano (University of Warwick), "Politics in the Facebook Era: Evidence from the 2016 US Presidential Elections" – with Federica Liberini, Antonio Russo, Angel Cuevas, and Ruben Cuevas. (Download paper below.)

Abstract

Through social media, politicians can personalize their campaigns and target specific groups of voters with an unprecedented precision. We assess the effects of such political micro-targeting by exploiting daily advertising prices on Facebook during the 2016 US presidential campaign. We measure the intensity of online campaigns using variation in ad prices charged to reach certain audiences, defined by political orientation, location, and demographic characteristics. We address two fundamental questions: How intensively did social media political campaigns target each audience? How large were any effects on voters? We find that micro-targeted political ads on social media had significant effects when based on geographical location, ideology, ethnicity, and gender. Exposure to these ads made individuals less likely to change their initial voting intentions, particularly among those who had expressed an intention to vote for Donald Trump. We also find that micro-targeted ads reduced turnout among targeted liberals, whereas they increased turnout and support for Trump among targeted moderates.

Co-sponsored by FAS and IQSS, the Program on Political Economy (PE) supports research-related activities that integrate the study of economics and politics, whether by studying economic behavior in the political process or political behavior in the marketplace. In general, positive political economy is concerned with showing how observed differences among institutions affect political and economic outcomes in various social, economic, and political systems and how the institutions themselves change and develop in response to individual and collective beliefs, preferences, and strategies.

liberini_redoano_etal_politics_in_the_facebook_era_cesifo1_wp8235.pdf5.49 MB