My dissertation examines media preferences in contemporary Russia, where the most popular news sources are state-controlled and regularly distort information to favor the country’s political leaders. I argue that the Kremlin’s success in dominating the information space and shaping public opinion in its favor depends not only on its efforts to suppress independent media, but also on its ability to embed pro-Kremlin propaganda in a news product that many Russians value and enjoy consuming. I draw on evidence from three original surveys to reveal the complex media preferences and political attitudes that drive the widespread consumption of state media. A pre-analysis plan for my most recent survey can be found here.
I’m also interested in developing and evaluating the tools social scientists use to study political psychology and political communications. I’m particularly interested in how we measure attitudes and preferences, and the consequences of these choices for the conclusions we draw. I was involved in a project that critically examined and compared a series of innovative measurement tools used in economics, psychology and political science to study interethnic attitudes and ethnic bias. Our paper draws on a series of experiments and surveys conducted in a lab in Nairobi, Kenya shortly before the 2017 Kenyan presidential elections.