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Scandals, Media Competition and Political Accountability

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We present a model of a media market in which a set of news outlets compete to break news. In our model, each media receives some information on whether a politician in office is corrupt. Media outlets can decide whether to break the story immediately or wait and fact-check, taking into account that if another media breaks the news, the profit opportunity disappears. We show that as the number of competitors increases, each outlet becomes more likely to break the news without fact-checking. Therefore, as the number of media increases, the incumbent politician is more likely to be accused of corruption by the media: this makes the re-election of incumbents more difficult and increases political turnover. In particular, we show that if voters consult with higher priority the media outlets that report about a scandal, increasing the number of competitors decreases the probability of having an honest politician in office.

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  • Giovanni Andreottola & Antoni-Italo de Moragas, 2020. "Scandals, Media Competition and Political Accountability," CSEF Working Papers 557, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:557
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