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Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit

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Author Info

  • Drago, Francesco

    ()
    (University of Naples Federico II)

  • Nannicini, Tommaso

    ()
    (Bocconi University)

  • Sobbrio, Francesco

    ()
    (European University Institute)

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effects of changes in the supply of news provided by newspapers on electoral participation, political selection, and government efficiency. We address these issues in the Italian context by constructing a new dataset covering the presence of local news by different types of newspapers (i.e., local and national) for all cities above 15,000 inhabitants in the period 1993-2010. The identification strategy exploits discrete changes in the number of newspapers supplying local news and the precise timing of these events. The results show that the entry of newspapers in the market for local news leads to an increase in turnout in municipal elections, a higher probability of the incumbent mayor being reelected, and an improvement in the efficiency of the municipal government (as measured by the speed of revenue collection). The effect of newspapers on government efficiency is larger when mayors are not term-limited and thus face reelection incentives. Our evidence shows that newspapers do not have a major impact on the selection of politicians, but they play a relevant role in keeping politicians accountable once they are in office. Competition plays a relevant role, as the effects are not limited to the first newspaper entering the market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7169.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2014, 6 (3), 159-188
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7169

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Keywords: media competition; turnout; political selection; newspapers; accountability;

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References

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  1. Antonio Merlo & Vincenzo Galasso & Massimiliano Landi & Andrea Mattozzi, 2008. "The Labor Market of Italian Politicians," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 89, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  2. Gagliarducci, Stefano & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2009. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives from Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 4400, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Fergusson, Leopoldo, 2014. "Media markets, special interests, and voters," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 13-26.
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  8. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2006. "A Structural Model of Turnout and Voting in Multiple Elections," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-011, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Feb 2007.
  9. Felix Oberholzer-Gee & Joel Waldfogel, 2009. "Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2120-28, December.
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  12. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  14. Besley, Timothy, 2007. "Principled Agents?: The Political Economy of Good Government," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199283910, Octomber.
  15. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Troiano, Ugo, 2013. "Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti Tax Evasion Program," MPRA Paper 52242, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  17. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221, February.
  18. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Piolatto, A. & Schuett, F., 2013. "Media Competition and Electoral Politics," Discussion Paper 2013-072, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Sobbrio, Francesco, 2014. "Citizen-editors' endogenous information acquisition and news accuracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 43-53.
  3. Graziano Abrate & Federico Boffa & Fabrizio Erbetta & Davide Vannoni, 2013. "Corruption, Accountability and Efficiency. An Application to Municipal Solid Waste Services," Working papers 022, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
  4. Gabriele Gratton, 2013. "The Sound of Silence: Anti-Defamation Law and Political Corruption," Discussion Papers 2012-21A, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.

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