We combine eight previously proposed measures to construct an index of political polarization among US adults. We find that polarization has increased the most among the demographic groups least likely to use the Internet and social media. Our overall index and all but one of the individual measures show greater increases for those older than 65 than for those aged 18–39. A linear model estimated at the age-group level implies that the Internet explains a small share of the recent growth in polarization.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Greater internet use does not correlate with faster growth of political polarization.
Continuing a topic from MindBlog's April 20 post...Most writing on the increase in political polarization over the past decades argues that it is facilitated by more extensive use of the internet, enhancing formation of social sites for like minded people which form isolated 'echo chambers.' Boxell et al. find, to the contrary, that polarization has increased the most among the demographic groups least likely to use the Internet and social media.