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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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    Cited by:

    1. Archishman Chakraborty & Parikshit Ghosh & Jaideep Roy, 2020. "Expert-Captured Democracies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(6), pages 1713-1751, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Bramoullé, Yann & Orset, Caroline, 2018. "Manufacturing doubt," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 119-133.
    5. Sareh Vosooghi, 2017. "Information Design In Coalition Formation Games," Working Papers 2017.28, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. Stephane Wolton, 2019. "Are Biased Media Bad for Democracy?," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 63(3), pages 548-562, July.
    7. Mireille Chiroleu‐Assouline & Thomas P. Lyon, 2020. "Merchants of doubt: Corporate political action when NGO credibility is uncertain," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 439-461, April.
    8. Robert C. Schmidt, 2015. "The political economy of climate policy," Working Papers 2015015, Berlin Doctoral Program in Economics and Management Science (BDPEMS).
    9. Couttenier, Mathieu & Hatte, Sophie, 2016. "Mass media effects on non-governmental organizations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 57-72.
    10. Vaccari, Federico, 2020. "Influential News and Policy-making," MPRA Paper 100464, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Zhenshan Chen & Stephen K. Swallow & Ian T. Yue, 2020. "Non-participation and Heterogeneity in Stated: A Double Hurdle Latent Class Approach for Climate Change Adaptation Plans and Ecosystem Services," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 77(1), pages 35-67, September.
    12. Beattie, Graham, 2020. "Advertising and media capture: The case of climate change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    13. Graham Beattie, 2017. "Biased media in an unbiased market," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 37(4), pages 2741-2752.
    14. Furukawa, Chishio, 2019. "Publication Bias under Aggregation Frictions: Theory, Evidence, and a New Correction Method," EconStor Preprints 194798, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    15. Tu, Meng & Zhang, Bing & Xu, Jianhua & Lu, Fangwen, 2020. "Mass media, information and demand for environmental quality: Evidence from the “Under the Dome”," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    16. van Gils, Freek & Müller, Wieland & Prüfer, Jens, 2020. "Big Data and Democracy," Discussion Paper 2020-003, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    17. Eraslan, Hulya & Ozerturk, Saltuk, 2017. "Information Gatekeeping and Media Bias," Working Papers 17-001, Rice University, Department of Economics.
    18. Le Yaouanq, Yves, 2018. "A Model of Ideological Thinking," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 85, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    19. 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.

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    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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