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Summits, Riots and Media Attention: The Political Economy of Information on Trade and Globalisation


  • Johan F. M. Swinnen
  • Nathalie Francken


Supply of information has increased rapidly through the growth of commercial media and technological innovations. Yet economists still blame anti‐globalists’ demonstrations and public opposition to trade liberalisation on poor information. This paper analyses how the structure of the media industry affects the distribution of information on trade policy and globalisation. We present an empirical analysis of Belgian media reporting on trade policy and globalisation over the 1999–2002 period, supports these hypotheses and finds strong negative bias in media coverage. Moreover, we find that media coverage of trade policy and globalisation is highly concentrated around summit meetings of political leaders. Media attention in the popular press is heavily influenced by riots and demonstrations at summits. The paper points at important implications for public information on trade policy and globalisation and for economists.

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  • Johan F. M. Swinnen & Nathalie Francken, 2006. "Summits, Riots and Media Attention: The Political Economy of Information on Trade and Globalisation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(5), pages 637-654, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:29:y:2006:i:5:p:637-654
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9701.2006.00804.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kym Anderson & Gordon Rausser & Johan Swinnen, 2013. "Political Economy of Public Policies: Insights from Distortions to Agricultural and Food Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 423-477, June.
    2. Andrea Guariso & Mara P. Squicciarini & Johan Swinnen, 2014. "Food Price Shocks and the Political Economy of Global Agricultural and Development Policy," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 36(3), pages 387-415.
    3. Matthias Heinz & Johan Swinnen, 2013. "Media Bias in Economic News: A Factor 20," LICOS Discussion Papers 33013, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.

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