Sergei Guriev, 29 November 2019

The mobile internet, promises to give us access to information anywhere, 24 hours a day. So how has it influenced trust in governments, politics, and politicians? Sergei Guriev tells Tim Phillips about how, all over the world, 3G has reduced trust in government and aided the rise of populism. 

Sergei Guriev, Nikita Melnikov, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 31 October 2019

Information and communication technology has no doubt had a positive economic impact globally, but its political bearing is less clear. This column shows that the proliferation of mobile technology reduces citizens’ confidence in their current governments, especially in places where news broadcasting is censored but the internet is not. Furthermore, by reducing the cost of reaching voters, the internet has also led to increased support for both left-wing and right-wing populist movements.

Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Konstantin Sonin, 20 June 2016

In addition to the traditional mass media, social media has become a channel through which citizens can hold public officials and corporate leaders to account. But social media commentators can be vulnerable to manipulation and reputational damage. This column uses data on a popular blogger in Russia to show that blogs are critical of corruption in state-controlled companies can lead to decreased profit diversion and corruption by the targeted companies. Social media appears to play an important role in improving accountability, particularly when traditional media is censored or political competition is limited.

Roland Bénabou, Davide Ticchi , Andrea Vindigni, 19 April 2015

History offers many examples of the recurring tensions between science and organized religion, but as part of the paper’s motivating evidence we also uncover a new fact: in both international and cross-state U.S. data, there is a significant and robust negative relationship between religiosity and patents per capita. Three long-term outcomes emerge. First, a "Secularization" or "Western-European" regime with declining religiosity, unimpeded science, a passive Church and high levels of taxes and transfers. Second, a "Theocratic" regime with knowledge stagnation, extreme religiosity with no modernization effort, and high public spending on religious public goods. In-between is a third, "American" regime that generally (not always) combines scientific progress and stable religiosity within a range where religious institutions engage in doctrinal adaptation.

Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman, 21 March 2015

In recent decades, new forms of dictatorship based on manipulating information rather than on mass violence, have emerged. This column explores the trade-offs and techniques of the modern dictator. Such dictators can survive using little violence in the face of moderate economic underperformance. Economic downturns often prompt an increase in censorship and propaganda. Though new information-based dictatorships are better adapted to a modernised society, modernisation and access to information, as well as economic contractions could undermine them.

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