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Covering the crisis: Media coverage of the economic crisis and citizens’ economic expectations

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The 2008–2009 worldwide economic crisis serves as a backdrop to this study of the dynamics of citizens’ economic expectations. Economic expectations are identified as crucial for a range of political attitudes. This study is the first to consider how information affects evaluations in times of a severe crisis, as prior research of information effects on economic evaluations took place in more stable economic times. It links citizens’ news exposure and the content of economic news coverage with changes in prospective economic assessments. Drawing on a three-wave panel study and on a media content analysis between the panel waves, we thus provide a dynamic assessment of media influences on changes in economic evaluations. The results demonstrate that media exposure strongly affected expectations regarding the future development of the national economic situation, while being largely unrelated to personal economic expectations. We furthermore show that media dependency increases the magnitude of the media effect. We discuss the disconnect between personal and national economic evaluations with regard to mass-mediated economic information.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: October 1, 2011


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