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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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sobbrio, Francesco, 2014. "Citizen-editors' endogenous information acquisition and news accuracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 43-53.
  2. Graziano Abrate & Federico Boffa & Fabrizio Erbetta & Davide Vannoni, 2013. "Corruption, Accountability and Efficiency. An Application to Municipal Solid Waste Services," Working papers, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino 022, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
  3. Gabriele Gratton, 2012. "The Sound of Silence: Anti-Defamation Law and Political Corruption," Discussion Papers, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales 2012-21, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  4. Amedeo Piolatto & Florian Schuett, 2014. "Media competition and electoral politics," Working Papers, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) 2014/14, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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