Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 5 > Issue 4

The Causal Effect of Media-Driven Political Interest on Political Attitudes and Behavior

Daniel M. Butler, Department of Political Science, Yale University, USA, daniel.butler@yale.edu Ana L. De La O, Department of Political Science, Yale University, USA, ana.delao@yale.edu
Suggested Citation
Daniel M. Butler and Ana L. De La O (2011), "The Causal Effect of Media-Driven Political Interest on Political Attitudes and Behavior", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 5: No. 4, pp 321-337. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00010041

Published: 30 Jun 2011
© 2011 D. M. Butler and A. L. De La O
Political participation,  Political psychology,  Comparative politics,  Voting behavior

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In this article:
Data and Empirical Model for the Individual-Level Data
Identification Strategy: The Swiss Natural Experiment
Results from the Individual-Level Survey Data
Results Using Aggregate-Level Turnout


This article considers the hypothesis that media-driven political interest shapes party identification, the timing of vote decisions, and electoral participation. To estimate the effect of media-driven political interest, we make a key distinction between political interest as a lifetime political orientation and political interest that rises and falls with the occurrence of noteworthy political events. We then exploit the shared media markets in Switzerland and its neighboring countries to overcome the otherwise crippling endogeneity problem and identify exogenous increases in Swiss citizens' self-reported political interest caused by the coverage of national elections in France, Germany, and Italy. We find that media-driven political interest increases the length of time individuals use to make their vote decisions, decreases partisanship, and increases self-reported and actual turnout.


Replication Data | 100.00010041_supp.zip (ZIP).

This file contains the data that is required to replicate the data on your own system.

DOI: 10.1561/100.00010041_supp

Online Appendix | 100.00010041_app.zip (ZIP).

This is the article's accompanying appendix.

DOI: 10.1561/100.00010041_app