“While rural America watches Duck Dynasty and goes fishing and hunting, urban America watches Modern Family and does yoga in the park,” write Chicago Booth’s Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica. The researchers then used machine learning and statistical modeling to calculate how reliable specific brands and media were in identifying salient characteristics of various social groups in different years. Not having watched Cops on TV in 2004 or Big Momma’s House at the movies the same year, or having missed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows in theaters in 2016 were also good indicators of high income. In terms of consumer products, did you use Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard in 1992? That was a good predictor of high income for that year 62 percent of the time. In 2016, the best determinant of high income was owning an iPhone or iPad. iPhone ownership was particularly instructive: “Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016,” the researchers write. The researchers analyzed Mediamark Research Intelligence data, which is based on questionnaires that asked people whether they had seen any of a few dozen movies-and the movies included in the questionnaire changed from year to year. “We find that liberals and conservatives are more different today in their social attitudes than they have ever been in the last 40 years,” write Bertrand and Kamenica.

Read the full article at Chicago Booth Review