Interest Groups, Information Manipulation in the Media, and Public Policy: The Case of the Landless Peasants Movement in Brazil

45 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010 Last revised: 18 Apr 2010

See all articles by Lee J. Alston

Lee J. Alston

Ostrom Workshop; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Gary D. Libecap

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management; University of Arizona - Karl Eller Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia

Date Written: April 2010

Abstract

We extend the literature on interest group behavior and policy outcomes by examining how groups with limited resources (votes and campaign contributions) effectively influence government by manipulating media information to voters. Voters in turn lobby politicians to implement the group's preferred policies. In this manner interest groups can secure favorable government actions beyond their size and wealth. This is an important contribution because of the increased role of the media in the information age and because this linkage better explains observed government policies. We develop a multi-principal, multi-task model of interest group behavior and generate the characteristics of interest groups that would be most successful using publicity to secure their policy objectives. We apply the model to the Landless Peasants' Movement in Brazil. We detail how the Landless Peasants' Movement molds information; show the general voter response; and examine the reaction of politicians in changing the timing and nature of policy.

Suggested Citation

Alston, Lee J. and Libecap, Gary D. and Mueller, Bernardo, Interest Groups, Information Manipulation in the Media, and Public Policy: The Case of the Landless Peasants Movement in Brazil (April 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15865. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1583806

Lee J. Alston (Contact Author)

Ostrom Workshop ( email )

513 N. Park Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47408–3895
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ostromworkshop.indiana.edu/alston/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gary D. Libecap

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management ( email )

4670 Physical Sciences North
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131
United States
805-893-8611 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.esm.ucsb.edu/people/usernew.asp?user=glibecap

University of Arizona - Karl Eller Center ( email )

McClelland Hall
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-4821 (Phone)
520-626-5269 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bpa.arizona.edu/~libecap

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Bernardo Mueller

Universidade de Brasilia ( email )

Dept. de Economia
Universidade de Brasilia
Brasilia, DF 70910-900
Brazil
55 61 981110349 (Phone)
55 61 3349-1303 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://bpmmueller.wixsite.com/bernardo-mueller

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