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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, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  • Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0126
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Petrova, Maria, 2012. "Mass media and special interest groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-38.
    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. Eraslan, Hulya & Ozerturk, Saltuk, 2017. "Information Gatekeeping and Media Bias," Working Papers 17-001, Rice University, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Sareh Vosooghi, 2017. "Information Design In Coalition Formation Games," Working Papers 2017.28, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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    8. 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.
    9. repec:spr:ecogov:v:18:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10101-016-0188-y is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Little, Andrew T., 2017. "Propaganda and credulity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 224-232.
    11. Maria Petrova, 2009. "Newspapers and Parties: How Advertising Revenues Created an Independent Press," Working Papers w0131, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Media; special-interest politics; nondemocratic politics;

    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

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