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Press Coverage and Political Accountability

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  • James M. Snyder
  • David Strömberg

Abstract

We estimate the impact of press coverage on citizen knowledge, politicians' actions, and policy. We find that voters living in areas where, for exogenous reasons, the press covers their U.S. House representative less are less likely to recall their representative's name and less able to describe and rate him or her. Congressmen who are less covered by the local press work less for their constituencies: they are less likely to stand witness before congressional hearings, to serve on constituency-oriented committees (perhaps), and to vote against the party line. Finally, federal spending is lower in areas with exogenously lower press coverage of congressmen. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Snyder & David Strömberg, 2010. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 355-408, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:118:y:2010:i:2:p:355-408
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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. Brunetti, Aymo & Weder, Beatrice, 2003. "A free press is bad news for corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1801-1824, August.
    3. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:01:p:127-140_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:55:y:1961:i:02:p:345-357_12 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. David Strömberg, 2004. "Radio's Impact on Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 189-221.
    10. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-450, June.
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    12. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-754, July/Aug..
    13. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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