According to a study in The American Economic Review, Italians who watched a lot of entertainment TV — including programs like a striptease quiz show — saw an adverse effect on intelligence and were more susceptible to populist electioneering. Researchers assessed the impact of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s media network, finding that younger watchers scored lower than their peers on numeracy and literacy tests. Regular viewers were also more likely to vote for Berlusconi’s populist party.
Is the trend continuing? The study found that the same demographic that voted for Berlusconi also voted for the populist 5-Star Movement, which gained control of Italy’s government last year.
Check out this OZY feature about why Italians are souring on the EU.