‘Digital Technology, Ideological Polarization and Intolerance (TECNOPOL)’

Grants for research teams

Economy and Digital Society

2017

The goal of this project is to examine whether new technologies have a causal impact on ideological polarization and intolerance.

MORE ABOUT

Rubén Enikolopov
DIRECTOR

Rubén Enikolopov, Lecturer in the Economics and Business Studies Department of Universidad Pompeu Fabra

 

RESEARCH TEAM

Maria Petrova and Rubén Durante, Universidad Pompeu Fabra; Aina Gallego Dobon, Instituto Barcelona de Estudios Internacionales.

COLLABORATING INSTITUTIONS

Universidad Pompeu Fabra

 

DESCRIPTION

The goal of this project is to examine whether new technologies have a causal impact on ideological polarization and intolerance.

The researchers are basing the study on the premise that, due to the increasing use of the Internet by the public, evidence suggests that they are not better informed but rather more polarized ideologically-speaking and lend greater support to nationalist and xenophobic parties, with the media and social media networks possibly being responsible for this trend.

In order to verify whether this is true, they will examine three related issues: firstly, they will analyze whether search engine customization may be polarizing the political opinion of users; secondly, they will examine whether the use of social media networks may be generating intolerance and making it easier for nationalist and xenophobic groups to coordinate themselves, leading to an increase in hate crime against minority groups; and, finally, they will study whether technological disruption in the workplace influences the political attitudes of the affected workers, leading to polarization, demobilization and support for nationalist parties.

The researchers will combine a number of empirical methods to conduct these analyses, including ‘machine learning’, field and laboratory experiments, and longitudinal studies with data from such different countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and Spain.