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Opposition Media, State Censorship, and Political Accountability: Evidence from Chavez’s Venezuela

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  • Brian Knight
  • Ana Tribin

Abstract

This study investigates the effects of state censorship in the context of the 2007 government closing of RCTV, a popular opposition television channel in Venezuela. Some parts of the country had access to a second opposition channel, Globovision, while other parts completely lost access to opposition television. The first finding, based upon ratings data, is that viewership fell on the progovernment replacement, following the closing of RCTV, but rose on Globovision in areas with access to the signal. Based upon this switching, the paper investigates whether support for Chavez fell in areas that retained access to opposition television, relative to those that completely lost access. Using three measures, Latinbarometer survey data, electoral returns, and data on protest activity, the second finding is that support for Chavez fell in municipalities that retained access to opposition television, relative to municipalities that lost access to opposition television. Taken together, these two findings suggest that voters switching from censored outlets to uncensored outlets can limit the effectiveness of state censorship.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Knight & Ana Tribin, 2022. "Opposition Media, State Censorship, and Political Accountability: Evidence from Chavez’s Venezuela," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank, vol. 36(2), pages 455-487.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:36:y:2022:i:2:p:455-487.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/wber/lhab018
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Capozza & Ingar Haaland & Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2021. "Studying Information Acquisition in the Field: A Practical Guide and Review," CEBI working paper series 21-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. The Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI).
    2. Julia Cagé & Moritz Hengel & Nicolas Hervé & Camille Urvoy, 2022. "Hosting Media Bias: Evidence from the Universe of French Broadcasts, 2002-2020," SciencePo Working papers Main hal-03878119, HAL.
    3. Elisa Mougin, 2021. "Three essays in the political economy of information [Trois essais en économie politique de l’information]," SciencePo Working papers Main tel-03537938, HAL.
    4. Mougin, Elisa, 2024. "TV in times of political uncertainty: Evidence from the 2017 elections in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C).
    5. Di Tella, Rafael & Galiani, Sebastian & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2021. "Persuasive propaganda during the 2015 Argentine Ballotage," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 885-900.
    6. Adam Szeidl & Ferenc Szucs, 2021. "Media Capture Through Favor Exchange," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(1), pages 281-310, January.
    7. Dorothy Kronick & Francisco Rodríguez, 2023. "Political Conflict and Economic Growth in Post-independence Venezuela," Springer Books, in: Felipe Valencia Caicedo (ed.), Roots of Underdevelopment, pages 317-346, Springer.
    8. Elisa Mougin, 2021. "Three essays in the political economy of information [Trois essais en économie politique de l’information]," SciencePo Working papers tel-03537938, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    censorship; media bias; voting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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