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Beyond Borders: Is Media Freedom Contagious?

  • Russell S. Sobel

    (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)

  • Nabamita Dutta

    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

  • Sanjukta Roy

    (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)

Previous literature stresses the importance of free media for economic development. By its nature TV, radio, and newspapers cross borders, allowing citizens to easily sample media from neighboring countries. This creates pressure for domestic reform and spreads media freedom between countries. Using spatial econometric techniques, and a sample of 102 countries, we test for the presence of geographic spillovers in media freedom. We find that a country’s level of media freedom significantly depends on its neighbors. Countries ‘catch’ approximately 20 percent of their media freedom from neighboring countries. Our results are robust to alternative specifications and measures of press freedom.

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File URL: http://www.be.wvu.edu/phd_economics/pdf/09-08.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, West Virginia University in its series Working Papers with number 09-08.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wvu:wpaper:09-08
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Web page: http://www.be.wvu.edu/phd_economics/
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  1. Daniel Sutter, 2002. "Advertising and Political Bias in the Media: The Market for Criticism of the Market Economy," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 725-745, 07.
  2. Nabamita Dutta & Sanjukta Roy, 2009. "The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Press Freedom," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 239-257, 04.
  3. World Bank, 2006. "World Development Indicators 2006," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 8151, August.
  4. Christopher J. Coyne & Peter T. Leeson, 2009. "Media as a Mechanism of Institutional Change and Reinforcement," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 1-14, 02.
  5. Christopher J. Coyne & Peter T. Leeson, 2004. "Read All About It! Understanding the Role of Media in Economic Development," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 21-44, 02.
  6. Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 155-169, Spring.
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