3G internet and confidence in government

By Sergei Guriev, Nikita Melnikov and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya


A new EBRD Working Paper (number 233)

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, on average, reduces
government approval and increases the perception of corruption in government. This effect is
present only when internet is not censored and is stronger when traditional media is. Actual
incidence of corruption translates 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.

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