Essays on social media and democracy

Freek van Gils

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The three essays of this dissertation apply game-theoretical, experimental and empirical methods to study the role of social media in the democratic process. The first essay develops a theory about the influence of political interest groups on voting behavior through communication on social media platforms. The model framework allows a theory-based discussion of two policy proposals aimed to counteract election manipulation by disinformation: a ban on microtargeting and the implementation of measures that raise source salience. The second essay studies the effects of these policy interventions in a large-scale laboratory experiment. The third essay employs panel data from a representative survey of Dutch households to examine the relationship between news consumption through social media and political polarization in a multi-party system.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • Müller, Wieland, Promotor
  • Prüfer, Jens, Co-promotor
Award date17 Jun 2022
Place of PublicationTilburg
Print ISBNs 978 905668 680 2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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