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Media as a Mechanism of Institutional Change and Reinforcement

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  • Christopher J. Coyne
  • Peter T. Leeson

Abstract

We argue that mass media is a mechanism of institutional evolution and identify three important effects media has on institutions. The 'gradual effect' involves media contributing to marginal changes in existing institutions. The 'punctuation effect' involves media catalyzing rapid institutional overhaul. The 'reinforcement effect' involves media contributing to the durability and sustainability of punctuated institutional equilibria. Our analysis identifies a paradoxical relationship between mass media and institutions wherein media both changes and reinforces existing institutions. This finding resolves a tension in the institutional literature that defines institutions by their durability but recognizes we observe (sometimes rapid and radical) institutional change. Case studies from the collapse of communism in Poland and Russia illustrate our argument. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Coyne & Peter T. Leeson, 2009. "Media as a Mechanism of Institutional Change and Reinforcement," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 1-14, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:62:y:2009:i:1:p:1-14
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Peter J. Boettke & Christopher J. Coyne & Peter T. Leeson, 2015. "Institutional stickiness and the New Development Economics," Chapters,in: Culture and Economic Action, chapter 6, pages 123-146 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    4. Axel Borrmann & Matthias Busse & Silke Neuhaus, 2006. "Institutional Quality and the Gains from Trade," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 345-368, August.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:04:p:633-652_04 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Henri L. F. de Groot & Gert-Jan Linders & Piet Rietveld & Uma Subramanian, 2004. "The Institutional Determinants of Bilateral Trade Patterns," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 103-123, February.
    7. Masahiko Aoki, 2013. "Endogenizing institutions and institutional changes," Chapters,in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 16, pages 267-297 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. James D . Gwartney & Randall G . Holcombe & Robert A . Lawson, 2006. "Institutions and the Impact of Investment on Growth," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 255-273, May.
    9. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
    10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
    11. Peter Leeson & Christopher Coyne, 2007. "The reformers’ dilemma: media, policy ownership, and reform," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 237-250, June.
    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. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters,in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.
    14. Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 155-169, Spring.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Russell S. Sobel & Nabamita Dutta & Sanjukta Roy, 2010. "Beyond Borders: Is Media Freedom Contagious?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 133-143, February.
    2. Christian Bjørnskov & Andreas Freytag, 2016. "An offer you can’t refuse: murdering journalists as an enforcement mechanism of corrupt deals," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(3), pages 221-243, June.
    3. Peter VON STADEN & KAWAMURA Satoshi, 2016. "The Telling of Japan's "Lost Decade": A comparison with the narration of the U.S. and EU crises," Discussion papers 16042, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. repec:kap:pubcho:v:174:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0496-y is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Christopher L. Ambrey & Christopher M. Fleming & Matthew Manning & Christine Smith, 2016. "On the Confluence of Freedom of the Press, Control of Corruption and Societal Welfare," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(2), pages 859-880, September.
    6. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0444-x is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Nabamita Dutta & Sanjukta Roy, 2013. "The changing face of culture: gauging the impact of a free media," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 95-115, August.
    8. Adam Martin & Diana Thomas, 2013. "Two-tiered political entrepreneurship and the congressional committee system," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 154(1), pages 21-37, January.
    9. Eiji Yamamura, 2012. "Effect of Free Media on Views Regarding Nuclear Energy after the Fukushima Accident," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 132-141, February.

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