Journal Article

Ideological Segregation Online and Offline

Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro

in The Quarterly Journal of Economics

Published on behalf of President and Fellows of Harvard University

Volume 126, issue 4, pages 1799-1839
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0033-5533
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1531-4650 | DOI:

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We use individual and aggregate data to ask how the Internet is changing the ideological segregation of the American electorate. Focusing on online news consumption, offline news consumption, and face-to-face social interactions, we define ideological segregation in each domain using standard indices from the literature on racial segregation. We find that ideological segregation of online news consumption is low in absolute terms, higher than the segregation of most offline news consumption, and significantly lower than the segregation of face-to-face interactions with neighbors, co-workers, or family members. We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time.

Keywords: D83; L86

Journal Article.  11985 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainy ; Services