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The dynamics of the debate about gay rights: evidence from US newspapers

Manning, Alan ORCID: 0000-0002-7884-3580 and Masella, Paolo (2022) The dynamics of the debate about gay rights: evidence from US newspapers. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization. ISSN 8756-6222

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jleo/ewab043


Changing attitudes are the result of a battle for hearts and minds in which agents for and against change try to persuade others. We know very little about this process. We develop a methodology for measuring the intensity and the contents of media coverage for and against an idea which we apply to attitudes to gay rights. We uncover several stylized facts: First, the diffusion process of both pro- and anti-gay rights language in the US newspapers follow an S-shaped pattern, characteristic of diffusion processes. Anti-gay rights coverage starts its diffusion process later but then catches up. Second, in the year gay marriages are introduced, we observe a dramatic increase in coverage of both pro- and anti-gay rights language; the increase in the latter is larger. The rise in coverage is still present in the 3 years after the institutional change. Third, there is substantial spatial autocorrelation in media coverage (JEL J15, Z1).

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Economics
Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2022 11:09
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2024 07:09

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