Later bedtimes predict President Trump’s performance
Douglas Almond and
Economics Letters, 2020, vol. 197, issue C
Technology and social media use are increasingly associated with delays in nightly sleep. Here, we consider the timing of President Trump’s official Twitter account posts as a proxy for sleep duration and how it relates to his public performance. The President wakes around 6am, a routine which has not changed since early 2017. In contrast, the frequency of Twitter activity 11pm–2am increased 317% from under one day per week in 2017 to three days a week in 2020. The President’s increased late-night activity is not accounted for by increases in the frequency of his use of social media over time, his travel schedule, or seasonality. On the day following one where he posts late at night, his Twitter followers interact less with his posts, described as “official statements by the President of the United States”.11White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, June 2017. In July 2019, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided unanimously that the President’s Twitter account is “official”. He receives 7400 fewer likes per tweet, 1300 fewer retweets per tweet, and 1400 fewer replies per tweet after a late night (drops of 6.5%–8%).
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