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Summary

Previous studies found the introduction of the today well established media radio and television to affect political participation. This paper evaluates the effect of the relatively recent introduction of a new medium, broadband internet. OLS results suggest a positive association between DSL availability and voter participation across German municipalities. However, the roll-out of DSL networks is not random. The paper exploits the fact that DSL availability depends on a municipality's distance to the nearest interconnection point to the existing voice-telephony network. Instrumental-variable results using this distance to predict DSL availability confirm the effect of DSL availability on voter participation.