The Effect of Partisanship and Political Advertising on Close Family Ties
M. Keith Chen and
Papers from arXiv.org
Research on growing American political polarization and antipathy primarily studies public institutions and political processes, ignoring private effects including strained family ties. Using anonymized smartphone-location data and precinct-level voting, we show that Thanksgiving dinners attended by opposing-party precinct residents were 30-50 minutes shorter than same-party dinners. This decline from a mean of 257 minutes survives extensive spatial and demographic controls. Dinner reductions in 2016 tripled for travelers from media markets with heavy political advertising --- an effect not observed in 2015 --- implying a relationship to election-related behavior. Effects appear asymmetric: while fewer Democratic-precinct residents traveled in 2016 than 2015, political differences shortened Thanksgiving dinners more among Republican-precinct residents. Nationwide, 34 million person-hours of cross-partisan Thanksgiving discourse were lost in 2016 to partisan effects.
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Date: 2017-11, Revised 2018-06
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Published in Science, 01 June 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6392, pp. 1020-1024
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:arx:papers:1711.10602
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