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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 preference formation 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 Autonomia Catalana, in 2010. This article is now in “reject and resubmit” at the review of economic studies. Besides all the new results regarding preference polarization with respect to the pro-independence feelings and national identity, we plan to finish it and re-submit it in 2022. Additionally, “Technological Change, Campaign Spending and Polarization” (con P.Balart y O.Troumpounis) has been finished and re-submitted to the Journal of Public Economics, where now is in the second round of Review and Resubmit.

Finally, another of the original projects of the proposal has been finished, submitted and published: “Intergroup Contact and Nation Building: Evidence from Military Service in Spain”  (Julio Caceres, Antoni-Italo De Moragas, Gabriel Facchini and Ignacio González). Volume 201, September 2021, Journal of Public Economics.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 1
Communications at national conferences 2
Communications at international conferences 2


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