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A Spatial Theory of Media Slant and Voter Choice

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  • J. Duggan
  • C. Martinelli

Abstract

We develop a theory of media slant as a systematic filtering of political news that reduces multidimensional politics to the one-dimensional space perceived by voters. Economic and political choices are interdependent in our theory: expected electoral results influence economic choices, and economic choices in turn influence voting behaviour. In a two-candidate election, we show that media favouring the front-runner will focus on issues unlikely to deliver a surprise, while media favouring the underdog will gamble for resurrection. We characterize the socially optimal slant and show that it coincides with the one favoured by the underdog under a variety of circumstances. Balanced media, giving each issue equal coverage, may be worse for voters than partisan media. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 640-666

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:78:y:2011:i:2:p:640-666

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Cited by:
  1. Jimmy Chan & Daniel Stone, 2013. "Media proliferation and partisan selective exposure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 467-490, September.
  2. Florian Schuett & Amedeo Piolatto, 2014. "Media competition and electoral politics," Working Papers. Serie AD 2014-03, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  3. Santiago Oliveros & Felix Vardy, 2013. "Demand for Slant: How Abstention Shapes Voters’ Choice of News Media," Economics Discussion Papers 734, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  4. César Martinelli & John Duggan, 2014. "The Political Economy of Dynamic Elections: A Survey and Some New Results," Working Papers 1403, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  5. Fischer, Justina, 2011. "Living under the ‘right’ government: does political ideology matter to trust in political institutions? An analysis for OECD countries," MPRA Paper 33344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Francesco Sobbrio, 2012. "A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/61, European University Institute.

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