Social Media Sharing and Online News Consumption

HBS, Cotting House Conference Room

Abstract: Using a novel empirical strategy, we econometrically identify causal cross-region peer effects in viewership of online content of the New York Times. Specifically, we find that a 1% increase in outside-region viewership will generate a 0.34% increase in within-region viewership. Additionally, we find that social media sharing is the primary mechanism driving these peer effects.

Speaker Bio: Michael Zhao is a 5th year doctoral candidate in the Information Technologies group at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research interests can broadly be construed as computational social science: the application of modern computational methods to extract patterns of human behavior from (potentially) large datasets. His current work focuses on understanding the causal relationship between social media sharing and online content consumption.

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