IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/abo/neswpt/w0126.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Government Control of the Media

Author

Listed:
  • Scott Gehlbach

    () (University of Wisconsin, Madison - Department of Political Science)

  • Konstantin Sonin

    () (New Economic School; Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR))

Abstract

We present a formal model of government control of the media to illuminate variation in media freedom across countries and over time, with particular application to less democratic states. The extent of media freedom depends critically on two variables: the mobilizing character of the government and the size of the advertising market. Media bias is greater and state ownership of the media more likely when the need for mobilization is large; however, the distinction between state and private media is smaller. Large advertising markets reduce media bias in both state and private media, but increase the incentive for the government to nationalize private media. We illustrate these arguments with a case study of media freedom in postcommunist Russia, where media bias has responded to the mobilizing needs of the Kremlin and government control over the media has grown in tandem with the size of the advertising market.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Gehlbach & Konstantin Sonin, 2008. "Government Control of the Media," Working Papers w0126, New Economic School (NES).
  • Handle: RePEc:abo:neswpt:w0126
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.nes.ru/files/Preprints-resh/WP126.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Djankov, Simeon & McLiesh, Caralee & Nenova, Tatiana & Shleifer, Andrei, 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. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3253-3285, December.
    4. John Mcmillan & Pablo Zoido, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 69-92, Fall.
    5. 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.
    6. S. Guriev & G. Egorov & K. Sonin., 2007. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    7. Egorov, Georgy & Guriev, Sergei & Sonin, Konstantin, 2009. "Why Resource-poor Dictators Allow Freer Media: A Theory and Evidence from Panel Data," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(4), pages 645-668, November.
    8. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, January.
    9. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    10. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    11. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2010. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 643-669, September.
    12. Puglisi Riccardo, 2011. "Being The New York Times: the Political Behaviour of a Newspaper," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-34, April.
    13. Petrova, Maria, 2011. "Newspapers and Parties: How Advertising Revenues Created an Independent Press," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 790-808, November.
    14. Chun-Fang Chiang & Brian Knight, 2011. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 795-820.
    15. WHITE, STEPHEN & OATES, SARAH & McALLISTER, IAN, 2005. "Media Effects and Russian Elections, 1999–2000," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 191-208, April.
    16. Rafael Di Tella & Ignacio Franceschelli, 2011. "Government Advertising and Media Coverage of Corruption Scandals," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-151, October.
    17. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
    18. 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.
    19. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2008. "Competition and Truth in the Market for News," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 133-154, Spring.
    20. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
    21. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    22. Emir Kamenica & Matthew Gentzkow, 2011. "Bayesian Persuasion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2590-2615, October.
    23. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2011. "The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2980-3018, December.
    24. AlÌcia Adserý, 2003. "Are You Being Served? Political Accountability and Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 445-490, October.
    25. Sarah Oates, 2007. "The neo-Soviet model of the media," Europe-Asia Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(8), pages 1279-1297.
    26. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2012. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, And Viewer Responses: Evidence From Berlusconi'S Italy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 451-481, May.
    27. Petrova, Maria, 2012. "Mass media and special interest groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-38.
    28. Chris Edmond, 2013. "Information Manipulation, Coordination, and Regime Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1422-1458.
    29. Christopher J. Coyne & Peter T. Leeson, 2009. "Media, Development, and Institutional Change," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12848.
    30. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2005. "Commercial Television and Voter Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    31. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
    32. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
    33. 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.
    34. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
    35. Matthew A. Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Media, Education and Anti-Americanism in the Muslim World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 117-133, Summer.
    36. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025.
    37. J. Duggan & C. Martinelli, 2011. "A Spatial Theory of Media Slant and Voter Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 640-666.
    38. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
    39. Chris Edmond, 2007. "Information Revolutions and the Overthrow of Autocratic Regimes," Working Papers 07-25, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    40. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2014. "Competition and Ideological Diversity: Historical Evidence from US Newspapers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3073-3114, October.
    41. Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 155-169, Spring.
    42. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
    43. Matthew Ellman & Fabrizio Germano, 2009. "What do the Papers Sell? A Model of Advertising and Media Bias," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 680-704, April.
    44. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    45. Nadezhda Azhgikhina, 2007. "The struggle for press freedom in Russia: reflections of a Russian journalist," Europe-Asia Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(8), pages 1245-1262.
    46. Katja Koikkalainen, 2007. "The local and the International in Russian business journalism: Structures and practices," Europe-Asia Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(8), pages 1315-1329.
    47. Feddersen, Timothy & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1998. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts under Strategic Voting," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 92(1), pages 23-35, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2015. "Radio and the Rise of The Nazis in Prewar Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1885-1939.
    2. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3253-3285, December.
    3. Wright, Austin L. & Sonin, Konstantin & Driscoll, Jesse & Wilson, Jarnickae, 2020. "Poverty and economic dislocation reduce compliance with COVID-19 shelter-in-place protocols," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 544-554.
    4. Saori Ihara & Yukihiro Yazaki, 2017. "Determinants of Public Service Broadcasting Size," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 129-151, May.
    5. Petrova, Maria, 2011. "Newspapers and Parties: How Advertising Revenues Created an Independent Press," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 790-808, November.
    6. Ahlquist, John S. & Ichino, Nahomi & Wittenberg, Jason & Ziblatt, Daniel, 2018. "How do voters perceive changes to the rules of the game? Evidence from the 2014 Hungarian elections," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 906-919.
    7. Belmonte, Alessandro & Rochlitz, Michael, 2020. "Collective memories, propaganda and authoritarian political support," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 44(3).
    8. Redlicki, B., 2017. "Spreading Lies," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1747, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Petrova, Maria, 2012. "Mass media and special interest groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-38.
    10. Maxime Menuet & Patrick Villieu, 0. "Reputation and the “need for enemies”," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 0, pages 1-41.
    11. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2015. "Radio and the Rise of The Nazis in Prewar Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1885-1939.
    12. Bjørnskov, Christian & Freytag, Andreas & Gutmann, Jerg, 2018. "Coups, Regime Transition, and the Dynamics of Press Freedom," Working Paper Series 1225, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    13. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Konstantin Sonin, 2018. "Social Media and Corruption," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 150-174, January.
    14. Little, Andrew T., 2017. "Propaganda and credulity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 224-232.
    15. Riccardo Puglisi & James M. Snyder Jr., 2015. "The Balanced Us Press," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 240-264, April.
    16. Saltuk Ozerturk, 2018. "Choosing a media outlet when seeking public approval," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(1), pages 3-21, January.
    17. Vadim S. Balashov & Yuxing Yan & Xiaodi Zhu, 2020. "Who Manipulates Data During Pandemics? Evidence from Newcomb-Benford Law," Papers 2007.14841, arXiv.org, revised Jan 2021.
    18. Edmond, Chris & Lu, Yang K., 2021. "Creating confusion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    19. Rafael Di Tella & Ignacio Franceschelli, 2011. "Government Advertising and Media Coverage of Corruption Scandals," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-151, October.
    20. Negrelli, Sara, 2020. "Bubbles and persuasion with uncertainty over market sentiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 67-85.
    21. Andina-Díaz, Ascensión & García-Martínez, José A., 2020. "Reputation and news suppression in the media industry," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 240-271.
    22. Ding, Rong & Hou, Wenxuan & Liu, Yue (Lucy) & Zhang, John Ziyang, 2018. "Media censorship and stock price: Evidence from the foreign share discount in China," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 112-133.
    23. Eraslan, Hulya & Ozerturk, Saltuk, 2017. "Information Gatekeeping and Media Bias," Working Papers 17-001, Rice University, Department of Economics.
    24. Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2015. "Radio and the Rise of The Nazis in Prewar Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(4), pages 1885-1939.
    25. Sareh Vosooghi, 2017. "Information Design In Coalition Formation Games," Working Papers 2017.28, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. David Strömberg, 2015. "Media and Politics," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 173-205, August.
    2. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3253-3285, December.
    3. Francesco Sobbrio, 2014. "The political economy of news media: theory, evidence and open issues," Chapters, in: Francesco Forte & Ram Mudambi & Pietro Maria Navarra (ed.), A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics, chapter 13, pages 278-320, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Piolatto, Amedeo & Schuett, Florian, 2015. "Media competition and electoral politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 80-93.
    6. Rafael Di Tella & Ignacio Franceschelli, 2011. "Government Advertising and Media Coverage of Corruption Scandals," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-151, October.
    7. Friebel, Guido & Heinz, Matthias, 2014. "Media slant against foreign owners: Downsizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 97-106.
    8. Francesco Sobbrio, 2012. "A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/61, European University Institute.
    9. Petrova, Maria, 2011. "Newspapers and Parties: How Advertising Revenues Created an Independent Press," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 790-808, November.
    10. Petrova, Maria, 2012. "Mass media and special interest groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-38.
    11. Maria Battaggion & Alessandro Vaglio, 2015. "Watchdogs, Platforms and Audience: An Economic Perspective on Media Markets," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 43(2), pages 209-228, June.
    12. Biondo, A.E. & Pluchino, A. & Rapisarda, A., 2018. "Modeling surveys effects in political competitions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 503(C), pages 714-726.
    13. Andina-Díaz, Ascensión & García-Martínez, José A., 2020. "Reputation and news suppression in the media industry," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 240-271.
    14. Jetter, Michael, 2017. "Terrorism and the Media: The Effect of US Television Coverage on Al-Qaeda Attacks," IZA Discussion Papers 10708, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Sun, Junze & Schram, Arthur & Sloof, Randolph, 2021. "Elections under biased candidate endorsements — an experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 141-158.
    16. repec:dgr:kubcen:2013072 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:tiu:tiucen:2013072 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Sobbrio, Francesco, 2014. "Citizen-editors' endogenous information acquisition and news accuracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 43-53.
    19. Cagé, Julia, 2020. "Media competition, information provision and political participation: Evidence from French local newspapers and elections, 1944–2014," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    20. Choe, Chongwoo & Raschky, Paul A., 2016. "Media, institutions, and government action: Prevention vs. palliation in the time of cholera," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 75-93.
    21. Gambaro, Marco & Puglisi, Riccardo, 2015. "What do ads buy? Daily coverage of listed companies on the Italian press," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 41-57.
    22. Behringer, Stefan & Filistrucchi, Lapo, 2015. "Hotelling competition and political differentiation with more than two newspapers," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 36-49.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Media; special-interest politics; nondemocratic politics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:abo:neswpt:w0126. 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: (Vladimir Ivanyukhin). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nerasru.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.