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Mass Media and Public Policy: Global Evidence from Agricultural Policies

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  • Alessandro Olper
  • Johan Swinnen

Abstract

Mass media play a crucial role in information distribution and in the political market and public policy making. Theory predicts that information provided by the mass media reflects the media's incentives to provide news to different groups in society and affects these groups' influence in policy making. We use data on agricultural policy from 69 countries spanning a wide range of development stages and media markets to test these predictions. Our empirical results are consistent with theoretical hypotheses that public support for agriculture is affected by the mass media. In particular, an increase in media (television) diffusion is associated with policies that benefit the majority to a greater extent and is correlated with a reduction in agriculture taxation in poor countries and a reduction in the subsidization of agriculture in rich countries, ceteris paribus. The empirical results are consistent with the hypothesis that increased competition in commercial media reduces transfers to special interest groups and contributes to more efficient public policies. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 413-436

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:27:y:2013:i:3:p:413-436

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  1. Olper, Alessandro & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2009. "Mass Media and Public Policy: Global Evidence from Agricultural Policies," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51694, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. David Roodman, 2009. "A Note on the Theme of Too Many Instruments," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(1), pages 135-158, 02.
  3. Johan F. M. Swinnen & Jill McCluskey & Nathalie Francken, 2005. "Food safety, the media, and the information market," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 32(s1), pages 175-188, 01.
  4. Vigani, Mauro & Olper, Alessandro, 2013. "GMO standards, endogenous policy and the market for information," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 32-43.
  5. De Gorter, Harry & Swinnen, Johan, 2002. "Political economy of agricultural policy," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 36, pages 1893-1943 Elsevier.
  6. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Olper, Alessandro, 2007. "Land inequality, government ideology and agricultural protection," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 67-83, February.
  8. Romain Wacziarg & Karen Horn Welch, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 187-231, June.
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  10. Anderson, Kym, 1993. "Lobbying Incentives and the Pattern of Protection in Rich and Poor Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 789, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Olper, Alessandro & Raimondi, Valentina, 2009. "Constitutional Rules and Agricultural Policy Outcomes," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50304, World Bank.
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  15. Anderson, Kym, 2009. "Five Decades of Distortions to Agricultural Incentives," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48742, World Bank.
  16. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
  17. Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2009. "Political Economy of Agricultural Distortions: The Literature to Date," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50308, World Bank.
  18. Marks, Leonie A. & Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas G. & Vickner, Steven S., 2003. "Evaluating Consumer Response to GM Foods: Some Methodological Considerations," CAFRI: Current Agriculture, Food and Resource Issues, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society, issue 04.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kym Anderson & Gordon Rausser & Johan Swinnen, 2012. "Political Economy of Public Policies: Insights from Distortions to Agricultural and Food Markets," Departmental Working Papers 2012-18, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  2. Olper, Alessandro & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2009. "Mass Media and Public Policy: Global Evidence from Agricultural Policies," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51694, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  3. Vigani, Mauro & Olper, Alessandro, 2013. "GMO standards, endogenous policy and the market for information," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 32-43.
  4. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Mihai Mutascu, 2012. "Taxation under media capture," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 2752-2767.

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