Stanford University, Department of Economics
579 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|April 2020||Polarization and Public Health: Partisan Differences in Social Distancing during the Coronavirus Pandemic|
with Hunt Allcott, Jacob C. Conway, Matthew Gentzkow, Michael Thaler, David Y. Yang: w26946
We study partisan differences in Americans’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Political leaders and media outlets on the right and left have sent divergent messages about the severity of the crisis, which could impact the extent to which Republicans and Democrats engage in social distancing and other efforts to reduce disease transmission. We develop a simple model of a pandemic response with heterogeneous agents that clarifies the causes and consequences of heterogeneous responses. We use location data from a large sample of smartphones to show that areas with more Republicans engage in less social distancing, controlling for other factors including state policies, population density, and local COVID cases and deaths. We then present new survey evidence of significant gaps between Republ...
|January 2020||Cross-Country Trends in Affective Polarization|
with Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse M. Shapiro: w26669
We measure trends in affective polarization in nine OECD countries over the past four decades. The US experienced the largest increase in polarization over this period. Three countries experienced a smaller increase in polarization. Five countries experienced a decrease in polarization. These findings are most consistent with explanations of polarization based on changes (e.g., changing party composition, growing racial divisions, the emergence of partisan cable news) that are more distinctive to the US, and less consistent with explanations based on changes (e.g., the emergence of the internet, rising economic inequality) that are more universal.
|March 2017||Is 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.