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