Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics 11-2017
This paper explores the causal influence of access to Western television programming on voting behavior. We exploit a natural experiment involving access to West German TV within the German Democratic Republic in which only geography and topography determined the allocation of individuals to treatment and control groups. Focusing on both the shares of extremist parties and voter turnout, we find that in the post-reunification decade in which TV content was harmonized, regions that already had access to Western TV broadcasts before reunification experience lower vote shares of extremist parties and higher voter turnout.
Voting Television Media Natural experiment Germany