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Government Control of the Media

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Author Info

  • Scott Gehlbach

    ()
    (University of Wisconsin, Madison - Department of Political Science)

  • Konstantin Sonin

    ()
    (New Economic School; Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR))

Abstract

We present a formal model of government control of the media to illuminate variation in media freedom across countries and over time, with particular application to less democratic states. The extent of media freedom depends critically on two variables: the mobilizing character of the government and the size of the advertising market. Media bias is greater and state ownership of the media more likely when the need for mobilization is large; however, the distinction between state and private media is smaller. Large advertising markets reduce media bias in both state and private media, but increase the incentive for the government to nationalize private media. We illustrate these arguments with a case study of media freedom in postcommunist Russia, where media bias has responded to the mobilizing needs of the Kremlin and government control over the media has grown in tandem with the size of the advertising market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in its series Working Papers with number w0126.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0126

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Keywords: Media; special-interest politics; nondemocratic politics;

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References

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  1. Simeon Djankov & Caralee McLiesh & Tatiana Nenova & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Who Owns the Media?," NBER Working Papers 8288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maria Petrova, 2010. "Mass Media and Special Interest Groups," Working Papers w0144, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  3. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Matthew A. Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Media, Education and Anti-Americanism in the Muslim World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 117-133, Summer.
  5. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
  6. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 28, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  7. Egorov, Georgy & Guriev, Sergei & Sonin, Konstantin, 2006. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives and the Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 5748, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
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  10. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2008. "Competition and Truth in the Market for News," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 133-154, Spring.
  11. Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 155-169, Spring.
  12. McMillan, John & Zoido, Pablo, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Research Papers 1851r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  13. Alicia Adsera & Carles Boix & Mark Payne, 2000. "Are You Being Served?: Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Research Department Publications 4241, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  14. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2009. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," Working Papers w0113, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  15. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
  16. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
  17. Riccardo Puglisi, 2006. "Being The New York Times: Thepolitical Behaviour Of A Newspaper," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 20, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  18. Chris Edmond, 2007. "Information Manipulation, Coordination and Regime Change," Working Papers 07-25, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  19. 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.
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  22. Maria Petrova, 2009. "Newspapers and Parties: How Advertising Revenues Created an Independent Press," Working Papers w0131, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Enikolopov, Ruben & Petrova, Maria & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2009. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," CEPR Discussion Papers 7257, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Petrova, Maria, 2012. "Mass media and special interest groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-38.
  3. Maria Petrova, 2009. "Newspapers and Parties: How Advertising Revenues Created an Independent Press," Working Papers w0131, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  4. Riccardo Puglisi & James M. Snyder, Jr., 2011. "The Balanced U.S. Press," NBER Working Papers 17263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rafael Di Tella & Ignacio Franceschelli, 2011. "Government Advertising and Media Coverage of Corruption Scandals," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-51, October.

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