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Title: A Geographic Analysis of the Influence of News on Health Decisions Across the United States
Authors: Emus, Jackson
Advisors: Bhatt, Swati
Department: Economics
Class Year: 2023
Abstract: News coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor in how people responded to health and safety protocols intended to curb the spread of the virus. This role of news during the recent pandemic highlights the broader trend of how news has the potential to influence vital health behaviors. Crucially, during a time when news plays such a pivotal role in private decision making, access to news across the United States continues to contract. In particular, local newspapers are disappearing at an alarming rate. This study investigates the effect of local news accessibility across the country on health decision making, which is tracked by flu vaccination rates. This paper is the first to analyze the impact of news deserts on flu vaccination throughout the U.S. I utilize county-level data in an effort to investigate the potential risk these disappearances may pose to public health. I find that the quantity of local newspapers within a county positively influences optimal health decisions, while living in a county without a newspaper has adverse effects on decision making.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Economics, 1927-2023

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