Silence the Media or the Story? Theory and Evidence of Media Capture
72 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2020 Last revised: 28 Jul 2020
Date Written: March 1, 2020
We explore a theory of media capture where a principal can either influence journalistic investigation (internal capture) or let the media investigate and pay to suppress news stories at the publication stage (external capture). We predict that the likelihood of internal capture increases with perceived corruption but decreases in competition and protection of journalists. Exploiting new individual survey data from Reporters Without Borders, we use the revelation of the Panama Papers as a shock to perceived corruption. With a differences-in-differences identification strategy based on cross-country variation in exposure to the shock, we show that internal capture increases with perceived corruption.
Keywords: Media, Media capture, Corruption, Panama Papers
JEL Classification: D73, L82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation