IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v22y2008i2p155-169.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation

Author

Listed:
  • Peter T. Leeson

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between media freedom from government control and citizens' political knowledge, political participation, and voter turnout. To explore these connections, I first examine media freedom and citizens' political knowledge in thirteen central and eastern European countries with data from Freedom House's Freedom of the Press report and the European Commission's Candidate Countries Eurobarometer survey. Next, I consider media freedom and citizens' political participation in 60 countries using data from the World Values Survey. Finally, I investigate media freedom and voter turnout in these same 60 or so countries with data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. I find that where government owns a larger share of media outlets and infrastructure, regulates the media industry more, and does more to control the content of news, citizens are more politically ignorant and apathetic. Where the media is less regulated and there is greater private ownership in the media industry, citizens are more politically knowledgeable and active. These results are robust to sample, specification, and alternative measures of media freedom.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 155-169, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:155-169
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.22.2.155
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.22.2.155
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Djankov, Simeon & et al, 2003. "Who Owns the Media?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 341-381, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Alexander Dyck & Natalya Volchkova & Luigi Zingales, 2008. "The Corporate Governance Role of the Media: Evidence from Russia," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1093-1135, June.
    4. repec:hrv:faseco:33078568 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2005. "Commercial Television and Voter Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
    7. Andrei Shleifer & Daniel Treisman, 2005. "A Normal Country: Russia After Communism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 151-174, Winter.
    8. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    9. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
    10. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
    11. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
    12. Christopher J. Coyne & Peter T. Leeson, 2004. "Read All About It! Understanding the Role of Media in Economic Development," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 21-44, February.
    13. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
    15. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:155-169. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.