Project Management

Unintended Media Effects In A Conflict Environment: Serbian Radio And Croatian Nationalism

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Executive Summary

Do media broadcasts matter when they reach audiences that are not their target? In a conflict, the media may have an unintended effect of increasing ethnic animosity. The authors consider radio signals travelling across country borders in the region that witnessed one of Europe's deadliest conflicts since WWII: the Serbo-Croatian conflict in the Yugoslavian wars. Using survey data, they find that a large fraction of Croats listen to Serbian radio (intended for Serbian listeners across the border) whenever signal is available. Then, using official election results, they document that residents of Croatian villages with good-quality signal of Serbian public radio were more likely to vote for extreme nationalist parties, even after several years of peace time.

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