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Reinforcement vs. change: The political influence of the media


  • Ascensión Andina-Díaz



The aim of this paper is to analyze competition between two ideological media outlets that want to influence their viewers so as to boot the number of votes for their preferred political party. We consider two ways of influencing viewers, which correspond to two prominent theories borrowed from the literature on Sociology: the “Reinforcement Approach” and the “Attitudinal Orientations Approach”. Our findings show that the aim of influencing viewers generally pushes media outlets to differentiate their opinions, and that the extend of this differentiation deeply depends on the viewers’ behavior. More precisely, we observe that if the viewers channel hop, media outlets end up differentiating their opinions more than if the viewers receive all their information from just one media. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Ascensión Andina-Díaz, 2007. "Reinforcement vs. change: The political influence of the media," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 65-81, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:131:y:2007:i:1:p:65-81
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-9105-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gabszewicz, Jean J. & Laussel, Dider & Sonnac, Nathalie, 2001. "Press advertising and the ascent of the 'Pensee Unique'," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 641-651, May.
    2. Corneo, Giacomo, 2006. "Media capture in a democracy: The role of wealth concentration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 37-58, January.
    3. Chan, Jimmy & Suen, Wing, 2009. "Media as watchdogs: The role of news media in electoral competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 799-814, October.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
    7. Ascensión Andina-Díaz, 2006. "Political competition when media create candidates’ charisma," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 345-366, June.
    8. Joseph E. Harrington & S. Brock Blomberg, 2000. "A Theory of Rigid Extremists and Flexible Moderates with an Application to the U.S. Congress," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 605-620, June.
    9. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Didier Laussel & Nathalie Sonnac, 2004. "Programming and Advertising Competition in the Broadcasting Industry," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 657-669, December.
    10. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
    11. Michael Spence & Bruce Owen, 1977. "Television Programming, Monopolistic Competition, and Welfare," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(1), pages 103-126.
    12. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bovitz, Gregory L & Druckman, James N & Lupia, Arthur, 2002. "When Can a News Organization Lead Public Opinion? Ideology versus Market Forces in Decisions to Make News," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 127-155, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Jeffords, 2014. "Preference-directed regulation when ethical environmental policy choices are formed with limited information," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 573-606, March.

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    Ideological media; Influence; Channel hopping;


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