Context and Accountability: How the Informational and Partisan Contexts Shape Voter Behavior and Representation
Moskowitz, Daniel J.
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CitationMoskowitz, Daniel J. 2019. Context and Accountability: How the Informational and Partisan Contexts Shape Voter Behavior and Representation. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines how the informational and partisan contexts affect the behavior of voters. I study these contextual effects by leveraging variation induced by the geography of media markets and redistricting. The first essay investigates the extent to which the nationalization of the news explains the nationalization of U.S. elections. I examine local television news coverage of governors and U.S. senators and show that increased news coverage translates into greater knowledge of governors and senators and higher rates of split-ticket voting. These results imply that local news coverage attenuates the nationalization of elections even in the present polarized context. The second essay explores the role of the informational context in retrospective voting. I assess whether greater exposure to relevant local news coverage enables voters to reward or punish Senate incumbents based on the extremity of their roll-call voting. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that voters infer incumbent ideology from news coverage and utilize this information in their vote choice: in-state television provides moderate incumbent senators with an electoral boost, while extreme senators experience an electoral penalty. The third essay, coauthored with Benjamin Schneer (Harvard Kennedy School) and Bernard L. Fraga (Indiana University) considers whether individuals are more likely to vote when their party dominates election outcomes. Leveraging nationwide voter file data and the redistricting process, we present causal evidence on this question via a longitudinal analysis of individual-level political participation. We find a measurable increase in turnout for individuals assigned to districts aligned with their partisan identities as compared to individuals in misaligned districts.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029671
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