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The Voice of Radio in the Battle for Equal Rights: Evidence from the U.S. South

Andrea Bernini

No _181, Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers from University of Oxford, Department of Economics

Abstract: Although the 1960s race riots have gone down in history as America’s most violent and destructive ethnic civil disturbances, a single common factor able to explain their insurgence is yet to be found. Using a novel data set on the universe of radio stations airing black-appeal programming, the effect of media on riots is found to be sizable and statistically signiï¬ cant. A marginal increase in the signal reception from these stations is estimated to lead to a 7% and 15% rise in the mean levels of the likelihood and intensity of riots, respectively. Several mechanisms behind this result are considered, with the quantity, quality, and the length of exposure to radio programming all being decisive factors.

Keywords: Minority Rights; Media; Conflict; Enfranchisement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 N92 L82 D74 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-06-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-mkt
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