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Public service broadcasting of sport, shows, and news as economic solution to the voter's paradox of rational ignorance


  • Rothbauer, Julia
  • Sieg, Gernot


Rational individuals may use a Public Service TV channel as a welfare improving institution to solve the paradox of being uninformed. To induce voters to watch unbiased serious informational content the Public Service TV channel is not only broadcasting (unbiased serious) news but also sport and shows even though in many markets sport and shows are broadcasted by private TV channels. Our approach is based on two-sided markets and the assumption of decreasing marginal returns of the factor information in the production process of democratic decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Rothbauer, Julia & Sieg, Gernot, 2010. "Public service broadcasting of sport, shows, and news as economic solution to the voter's paradox of rational ignorance," Economics Department Working Paper Series 9, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tbswps:9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Djankov, Simeon & et al, 2003. "Who Owns the Media?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 341-381, October.
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    5. Matsusaka, John G & Palda, Filip, 1999. "Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 431-446, March.
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    7. Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics: Robust Evidence of Judgemental Anomalies from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 433-458, April.
    8. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
    9. Massimo Motta & Michele Polo, 1997. "Concentration and public policies in the broadcasting industry: the future of television," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(25), pages 293-334, October.
    10. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
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    12. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2005. "Commercial Television and Voter Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. David Dreyer Lassen, 2004. "The Effect of Information on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    14. Harry Arne Solberg, 2007. "COMMENTARY: Sports Broadcasting: Is it a Job for Public Service Broadcasters?-A Welfare Economic Perspective," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 289-309.
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    17. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Rothbauer, Julia & Sieg, Gernot, 2011. "Welfare effects of public service broadcasting in a free-to-air TV market," Economics Department Working Paper Series 13, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Economics Department.

    More about this item


    Media Industry; voter behavior; two-sided markets; education;

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises


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