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Media versus Special Interests

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  • Alexander Dyck
  • David Moss
  • Luigi Zingales

Abstract

We argue that profit-maximizing media help overcome the problem of "rational ignorance" highlighted by Downs (1957) and in so doing make elected representatives more sensitive to the interests of general voters. By collecting news and combining it with entertainment, media are able to inform passive voters on politically relevant issues. To show the impact this information has on legislative outcomes, we document the effect "muckraking" magazines had on the voting patterns of U.S. representatives and senators in the early part of the 20th century. We also show under what conditions profit-maximizing media will cater to general (less affluent) voters in their coverage, providing a counterbalance to special interests.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14360.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14360

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Cited by:
  1. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "Disclosure by Politicians," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 179-209, April.
  2. Florian Buck, 2014. "Financial Regulation and the Grabbing Hand," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(4), pages 03-13, 01.
  3. Poitras, Marc & Sutter, Daniel, 2009. "Advertiser pressure and control of the news: The decline of muckraking revisited," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 944-958, December.
  4. Karen Moris, 2010. "La presse en tant que mécanisme de gouvernance disciplinaire - Press as a disciplinary governance mechanism," Working Papers CREGO, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations 1101003, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.

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