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Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia
Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya
American Economic Review. Dec 2011, Vol. 101, No. 7: Pages 3253-3285

Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia

Ruben Enikolopov, 1

1New Economic School, Office 922, Nakhimovsky pr. 47, Moscow, 117418, Russia.

Maria Petrova, 2

2New Economic School, Office 905, Nakhimovsky pr. 47, Moscow 117418, Russia.

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya3

3Paris School of Economics and New Economic School, Office 104A, 48 Bd. Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France.


This paper compares electoral outcomes of 1999 parliamentary elections in Russia among geographical areas with differential access to the only national TV channel independent from the government. It was available to three-quarters of Russia's population and its signal availability was idiosyncratic, conditional on observables. Independent TV decreased aggregate vote for the government party by 8.9 percentage points, increased the combined vote for major opposition parties by 6.3 percentage points, and decreased turnout by 3.8 percentage points. The probability of voting for opposition parties increased for individuals who watched independent TV even controlling for voting intentions measured one month before elections. (JEL D72, L82, P26)