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Political Accountability, Electoral Control, and Media Bias

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  • Takanori Adachi

    ()
    (School of Economics, Nagoya University)

  • Yoichi Hizen

    ()
    (Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration, Hokkaido Univeristy)

Abstract

Are anti-establishment mass media really useful in preventing politicians from behaving dishonestly? This paper proposes a voting model for analyzing how differences in the direction of media bias affect politicians' behavior. In particular, the probability of corruption by an incumbent is higher (than that in the case of no media bias) if and only if the mass media have some degree of "anti-incumbent" bias (i.e., information favorable to the incumbent is converted into unfavorable news about him or her with a positive probability), provided that the incumbent is less likely to be opportunistic than a challenger. This result holds irrespective of the degree of "pro-incumbent" bias (i.e., information unfavorable to the incumbent is converted into impressive news about him or her with a positive probability). We also show that media bias never increases voter welfare. Our results thus suggest that society should make an effort to eliminate media bias per se rather than promote antagonistic media.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research in its series KIER Working Papers with number 811.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:kyo:wpaper:811

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Keywords: Political Accountability; Retrospective Voting; Media Bias; Voter Welfare;

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  1. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," NBER Working Papers 12921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3769, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2010. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, and Viewer Responses: Evidence from Berlusconi’s Italy," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.
  4. Michael Smart & Daniel Sturm, 2004. "Term limits and electoral accountability," Economic History Working Papers 20283, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  5. DellaVigna, Stefano & Kaplan, Ethan, 2006. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," Seminar Papers 748, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  6. Warren, Patrick L., 2012. "Independent auditors, bias, and political agency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 78-88.
  7. Stone, Daniel F., 2011. "Ideological media bias," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 256-271, May.
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