DP14022 3G Internet and Confidence in Government

Author(s): Sergei Guriev, Nikita Melnikov, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya
Publication Date: September 2019
Date Revised: October 2019
Keyword(s): 3G, Corruption, Government approval, internet, Mobile, populism
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Development Economics, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14022

How does the internet affect government approval? Using surveys of 840,537 individuals from 2,232 subnational regions in 116 countries in 2008-2017 from the Gallup World Poll and the global expansion of 3G networks, we show that an increase in internet access reduces government approval and increases the perception of corruption in government. This effect is present only when the internet is not censored and is stronger when traditional media is censored. Actual incidents of corruption translate into higher corruption perception only in places covered by 3G. In Europe, the expansion of mobile internet increased vote shares of anti-establishment populist parties.