Davide Angelucci Lorenzo de Sio

The Cultural (Even More Than Political) Legacy of Entertainment TV

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Does entertainment TV affect political attitudes? In a recent American Economic Review article, Durante et al. (2019a) show significantly different political attitudes in geographical areas that, decades before, had earlier access to the Italian Mediaset entertainment TV networks, suggesting an explanatory mechanism where lower quality content would, through time, lower cognitive abilities and social capital, thus leading to such attitudes. We hypothesize instead a content-related mechanism, where entertainment content promotes specific value orientations. Our empirical analysis demonstrates that earlier access to Mediaset entertainment TV in the 1980s has effects on individual-level value orientations (measured in the ITANES 2006 survey), that are even larger and more reliable than the effects on political attitudes found in the AER article. This confirms our hypothesis of a cultural legacy of entertainment TV; suggesting that concerns for pluralism should expand, beyond politically relevant news and talk-shows, into broader attention for adequate representation of different values and worldviews in entertainment content


  • entertainment TV
  • political legacy
  • cultural legacy
  • values
  • predispositions


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