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The dynamics of the debate about gay rights: evidence from U.S. newspapers

Manning, Alan ORCID: 0000-0002-7884-3580 and Masella, Paolo (2021) The dynamics of the debate about gay rights: evidence from U.S. newspapers. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization. ISSN 8756-6222 (In Press)

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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 U.S. 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 three years after the institutional change. Third, there is substantial spatial autocorrelation in media coverage.

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: 12 Jan 2022 08:03

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