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The Role of Media Slant in Elections and Economics

  • John Duggan


    (Department of Political Science and Department of Economics University of Rochester)

  • Cesar Martinelli


    (Centro de Investigacion Economica (CIE), Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM))

We formalize the concept of media slant as a relative emphasis on different issues of political interest by the media, and we illustrate the effects of the media choice of slant on political outcomes and economic decisions in a rational expectations model. In a two-candidate election, if the media is biased in favor of the underdog, then it will put more emphasis on issues with a large electoral impact, hoping that the news will deliver an upset victory. Whether citizens are better off with media biased in favor of the underdog or the frontrunner depends on the importance of choosing the "right" candidate for citizens versus the impact of political news on the private economic decisions of voters. Balanced media, giving each issue equal coverage, may be worse for voters than partisan media.

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Paper provided by Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM in its series Working Papers with number 0802.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:0802
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  1. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse Shapiro, 2005. "Media Bias and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 11664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chan, Jimmy & Suen, Wing, 2009. "Media as watchdogs: The role of news media in electoral competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 799-814, October.
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  9. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
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  12. Besley, Timothy J. & Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 3132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005. "A Measure of Media Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1191-1237, November.
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  15. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330, November.
  16. Zwiebel, Jeffrey H. & Vayanos, Dimitri & DeMarzo, Peter M., 2001. "Persuasion Bias, Social Influence, and Uni-Dimensional Opinions," Research Papers 1719, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  17. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
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