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Mass Media and Public Policy: Global Evidence from Agricultural Policies

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  • Olper, Alessandro
  • Swinnen, Johan F.M.

Abstract

Mass media plays a crucial role in information distribution and thus in the political market and public policy making. Theory predicts that information provided by mass media reflects the media’s incentives to provide news to different types of groups in society, and affects these groups’ influence in policy-making. We use data on agricultural policy from 67 countries, spanning a wide range of development stages and media markets, to test these predictions. We find that, in line with theoretical hypotheses, public support to agriculture is strongly affected by the mass media. In particular, an increase in the share of informed voters, and a greater role of the private televisions in society is associated with policies which benefit the majority more: it reduces taxation of agriculture in poor countries and reduces subsidization of agriculture in rich countries, ceteris paribus. The evidence is also consistent with the hypothesis that increased competition in commercial media reduces transfers to special interest groups and contributes to more efficient public policies.

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Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China with number 51694.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51694

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Keywords: Mass Media; Media Structure; Information; Agricultural Protection; Political Economy; Agricultural and Food Policy; International Development; Political Economy; Public Economics; D72; D83; Q18;

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Cited by:
  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. Vigani, Mauro & Olper, Alessandro, 2012. "GMO Standards, Endogenous Policy and the Market for Information," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126443, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  3. Kym Anderson & Gordon Rausser & Johan Swinnen, 2013. "Political Economy of Public Policies: Insights from Distortions to Agricultural and Food Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 423-77, June.
  4. Mihai Mutascu, 2012. "Taxation under media capture," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 2752-2767.
  5. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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