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The roots of polarization: Institutions, media and geography

19th National Competition for Economic Research Grants

Applied Economics

Senior Researcher : Agustín Casas

Research Centre or Institution : Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros (CUNEF)


We examine empirically to what extent public and private institutions affect preferenceformation in general, and polarization in particular. We focus on three different empirical exercises -- with an emphasis on Spanish organizations—centered around the effect of the media, the effect of the Constitutional Court and the effect of geographical relocation. Methodologically, we combine quasi-natural experiments and surveys to identify their causal effect on polarization.

One of the main projects explain a certain degree of polarization in the preferences of citizens of Catalonia, as a consequence of the sentence of the Tribunal Constitucional, about the Estatuto de Autonomía Catalana, in 2010. Now, the article is under review in the Economic Journal. Regarding this year, beyond all the new results that we have obtained in said paper (polarization in preferences for independence, in national sentiment, etc.), our objective is to produce one or two more articles, related to the polarization in Spain. Even using machine learning techniques (à la Gentzkow et al, several years).

Another project, “Technological change, campaign spending and polarization” (with P.Balart and O.Troumpounis) has been published in the Journal of Public Economics, in OPEN ACCESS mode. Likewise, a reverberation of last year's publication (“Intergroup Contact and Nation Building: Evidence from Military Service in Spain” (Julio Caceres, Antoni-Italo De Moragas, Gabriel Facchini and Ignacio González)) has been published as a book chapter. Similarly, the author also published a new paper in the European Economic Review. The article Escape from urban blight: lead poisoning, crime and suburbanization (with Federico Masera) by Federico Curci has already been accepted (conditionally) in the Review of Economics and Statistics.

I also have two other articles in the review process: Cooperation and Retaliation in Legislative Bargaining has already been resubmitted to the International Economic Review and Incentivizing Brokers in Clientelistic Parties is in the second round of the Journal of Politics.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 3
Communications at national conferences 2
Communications at international conferences 2


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