Media scrutiny and the quality of public officials
I investigate whether attempts by the media to determine a candidate's fitness for office lowers the average quality of public officials, what I call the media scrutiny paradox. Media scrutiny imperfectly signals heterogeneous candidates' type, but imposes privacy costs and reputational costs on politicians. The quality of office holders falls if the selection effect is adverse and outweighs the screening effect. A low quality information signal, which could result if the media focus on irrelevant aspects of behavior, makes the screening effect small and the media paradox more likely to hold. Individuals of good character might invest more in their reputation and have more at stake from being (falsely) identified as a rapscallion. The actual malice standard established in New York Times v. Sullivan likely increased (relatively) the cost of candidacy for good people and lowered the quality of officials. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002.
NBER Working Papers
9295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Media Bias," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1981, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Cukierman, Alex & Alesina, Alberto, 1990.
"The Politics of Ambiguity,"
4552530, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
- Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997.
"Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making,"
3450061, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
- Nuno Garoupa, 1999. "Dishonesty and Libel Law: The Economics of the "Chilling" Effect," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(2), pages 284-, June.
- Crain, W Mark & Goff, Brian L, 1986. "Televising Legislatures: An Economic Analysis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 405-21, October.
- Glazer, A. & Hassin, R., 2000. "The Calculus of Stonewalling," Papers 99-00-13, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1995. "Economizing on virtue," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 35-56, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:129:y:2006:i:1:p:25-40. 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: (Guenther Eichhorn)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.