Reflection #14 – [04/17] – [Nuo Ma]

1.Lelkes, Y., Sood, G., & Iyengar, S. (2017). The hostile audience: The effect of access to broadband internet on partisan affect. American Journal of Political Science61(1), 5-20.

In this article, the author identifies the impact of access to broadband Internet on affective polarization. They exploited differences in broadband availability brought about by variation in state right-of-way regulations (ROW), which significantly boost access to content. The author concludes that access to broadband Internet increases partisan hostility and is stable across levels of political interest. The author also finds that access to broadband Internet boosts partisans’ consumption of partisan media.

The author identified the impact of broadband access on affective polarization by exploiting differences in broadband availability brought about by variation in state right-of-way regulations (ROW), which significantly affect the cost of building Internet infrastructure and thus the price and availability of broadband access. Assuming broadband access availability is consistent with the number of service provider, and regression model was used to prove this is related to ROW score. Other major causes like terrain and weather were also briefly discussed. I liked the methodology in this part, I’m also surprised to see the amount of dial-up connections showed in the study. Maybe also consider cellular data consumption as a part of future study, which can be measured by the average sale price of smartphones in an area. And for your group project, I can’t exactly remember how did you acquire internet speed data?

This also reminded me the similar topic of internet neutrality, which you pay to get faster access to certain websites. Since internet speed really has an impact on what kind of website you visit / app you use, it’s so painful to think that we can be so easily manipulated. Or companies like facebook pay ISP to ensure user has higher traffic priority to their website, but our personal data were sold in some way to pay for this.?

 

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