Covering the crisis: Media coverage of the economic crisis and citizens' economic expectations

Hajo G. Boomgaarden*, Joost Van Spanje, Rens Vliegenthart, Claes H. De Vreese

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


The 2008-2009 worldwide economic crisis serves as a backdrop to this study of the dynamics of citizens economic expectations. Economic expectations are identified as crucial for a range of political attitudes. This study is the first to consider how information affects evaluations in times of a severe crisis, as prior research of information effects on economic evaluations took place in more stable economic times. It links citizens news exposure and the content of economic news coverage with changes in prospective economic assessments. Drawing on a three-wave panel study and on a media content analysis between the panel waves, we thus provide a dynamic assessment of media influences on changes in economic evaluations. The results demonstrate that media exposure strongly affected expectations regarding the future development of the national economic situation, while being largely unrelated to personal economic expectations. We furthermore show that media dependency increases the magnitude of the media effect. We discuss the disconnect between personal and national economic evaluations with regard to mass-mediated economic information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-379
Number of pages27
JournalActa Politica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • economic evaluations
  • economic news
  • media dependency
  • media effects


Dive into the research topics of 'Covering the crisis: Media coverage of the economic crisis and citizens' economic expectations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this