Mobile Internet and the Rise of Communitarian Politics in Europe

Abstract

We study the political effects of the diffusion of mobile Internet between 2007 and 2017 using administrative data on electoral outcomes and on mobile Internet signal across the 82,094 municipalities of twenty European countries, which we complement with individual survey data on voters’ values and positions. In line with literature in social psychology claiming that social media promote tribalism and make individuals particularly permeable to xenophobic messages that prime the insiders at the expense of the outsiders, we show that this technology led to an increase in voters’ support for communitarian parties campaigning on nationalism and dislike of strangers and minorities. Our estimates suggest that between one third and one half of the remarkable success of communitarian parties, which roughly doubled their support over the period, can be ascribed to enhanced access to mobile Internet technology.

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If you have any questions regarding the seminar, please contact the seminar organizers Kjell Gunnar Salvanes or Helene Bjørndal Fosse.