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The Instrumental Voter Goes to the News-Agent: Demand for Information, Election Closeness, and the Media

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  • Valentino Larcinese

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Abstract

This paper studies the impact of instrumental voting on information demand and mass media behaviour during electoral campaigns. If voters act instrumentally then information demand should increase with the closeness of an election. Mass media are modeled as profit-maximizing firms that take into account information demand, the value of customers to advertisers and the marginal cost of customers. Information supply should be larger in electoral constituencies where the contest is expected to be closer, there is a higher population density, and customers are on average more profitable for advertisers. The impact of electorate size is theoretically undetermined. These conclusions are then tested with comfortable results on data from the 1997 general election in Britain.

Suggested Citation

  • Valentino Larcinese, 2003. "The Instrumental Voter Goes to the News-Agent: Demand for Information, Election Closeness, and the Media," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 579.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:579.03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Larcinese, Valentino & Puglisi, Riccardo & Snyder, James M., 2011. "Partisan bias in economic news: Evidence on the agenda-setting behavior of U.S. newspapers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1178-1189.
    2. Ascensión Andina-Díaz, 2009. "Media competition and information disclosure," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 32(4), pages 705-705, May.
    3. Valentino Larcinese, 2007. "Does political knowledge increase turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British general election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 387-411, June.
    4. Bruce Blonigen, 2008. "New Evidence on the Formation of Trade Policy Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Juan Restrepo & Rosalyn Rael & James Hyman, 2009. "Modeling the influence of polls on elections: a population dynamics approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 395-420, September.
    6. Huber, Sascha & Gschwend, Thomas & Meffert, Michael F. & Pappi, Franz Urban, 2008. "Erwartungsbildung über den Wahlausgang und ihr Einfluss auf die Wahlentscheidung," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-01, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mass media; instrumental voting; marginality; political news; British politics;

    JEL classification:

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

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