4G Democracy: Mobile Internet and Electoral Outcomes in Chile
Benjamín Leiva Silva
Tesis, Magíster en Economía, IE-PUC, 2018
Abstract: The relationship between Internet access and political outcomes is an increasingly relevant subject given the current reshaping of several western democracies. In this paper, I study the effects of increased mobile Internet access on electoral outcomes like voter turnout and political vote shares. Using a panel data model with time and location fixed effects, I exploit municipality-level differences in the installation of antennas that provide mobile Internet. I find that a one standard deviation increase in the number of antennas of the average municipality decreases left-wing candidacies’ vote shares in 8 p.p. while increasing outsider vote shares by 5 p.p., where this last result is mainly displayed at local elections. Turnout, on the other hand, is reduced in presidential elections but signicantly increased in local elections under larger mobile Internet access. Finally, I nd that this increase in connectivity in uences political outcomes mainly through its effect on rural municipalities and institutional changes like the instauration of voluntary voting.