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Special Interests and the Media: Theory and an Application to Climate Change

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  • Jesse M. Shapiro

Abstract

A journalist reports to a voter on an unknown, policy-relevant state. Competing special interests can make claims that contradict the facts but seem credible to the voter. A reputational incentive to avoid taking sides leads the journalist to report special interests’ claims to the voter. In equilibrium, the voter can remain uninformed even when the journalist is perfectly informed. Communication is improved if the journalist discloses her partisan leanings. The model provides an account of persistent public ignorance on climate change that is consistent with narrative and quantitative evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesse M. Shapiro, 2014. "Special Interests and the Media: Theory and an Application to Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 19807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19807
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Antony Millner & Hélène Ollivier, 2016. "Beliefs, Politics, and Environmental Policy," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(2), pages 226-244.
    2. Joanna Tyrowicz, 2007. "Blame No One ?Investment Decisions of the Polish Stock-Listed Companies," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 50(4), pages 391-410.
    3. Yann Bramoullé & Caroline Orset, 2015. "Manufacturing Doubt," Post-Print hal-01591999, HAL.
    4. Sareh Vosooghi, 2017. "Information Design In Coalition Formation Games," Working Papers 2017.28, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Robert C. Schmidt, 2015. "The political economy of climate policy," Working Papers 2015015, Berlin Doctoral Program in Economics and Management Science (BDPEMS).
    6. Couttenier, Mathieu & Hatte, Sophie, 2016. "Mass media effects on non-governmental organizations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 57-72.
    7. Wolton, Stephane, 2017. "Are Biased Media Bad for Democracy?," MPRA Paper 84837, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00268 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Eraslan, Hulya & Ozerturk, Saltuk, 2017. "Information Gatekeeping and Media Bias," Working Papers 17-001, Rice University, Department of Economics.
    10. Le Yaouanq, Yves, 2018. "A Model of Ideological Thinking," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 85, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    11. Hulya Eraslan & Saltuk Ozerturk, 2018. "Information Gatekeeping and Media Bias," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1808, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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