Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis


Robert Day School Prize for Best Senior Thesis in Economics and Finance

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Cameron Shelton

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The effects of political advertisements on electoral outcomes have been studied many times by social scientists, yet little is known about their impact on issue salience. This paper attempts to estimate the causal impact of political advertisements on issue salience. The empirical strategy that I use exploits the discontinuities along the borders of the media markets which result in a plausibly exogenous variation on advertisements across the borders of neighboring counties. I find that advertisements on immigration, gun control, and government ethics increase the salience of these issues. Advertisements on taxes and gay marriage have no impact on salience whereas advertisements containing a military reference decrease the issue salience of defense spending.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.