Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit

55 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2013

See all articles by Francesco Drago

Francesco Drago

University of Messina, CSEF & CEPR

Tommaso Nannicini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Francesco Sobbrio

Luiss Guido Carli University; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Abstract

This paper evaluates the effects of changes in the supply of news provided by newspapers on electoral participation, political selection, and government efficiency. We address these issues in the Italian context by constructing a new dataset covering the presence of local news by different types of newspapers (i.e., local and national) for all cities above 15,000 inhabitants in the period 1993-2010. The identification strategy exploits discrete changes in the number of newspapers supplying local news and the precise timing of these events.The results show that the entry of newspapers in the market for local news leads to an increase in turnout in municipal elections, a higher probability of the incumbent mayor being reelected, and an improvement in the efficiency of the municipal government (as measured by the speed of revenue collection). The effect of newspapers on government efficiency is larger when mayors are not term-limited and thus face reelection incentives. Our evidence shows that newspapers do not have a major impact on the selection of politicians, but they play a relevant role in keeping politicians accountable once they are in office. Competition plays a relevant role, as the effects are not limited to the first newspaper entering the market.

Keywords: newspapers, media competition, turnout, political selection, accountability

JEL Classification: L82, D72, H70

Suggested Citation

Drago, Francesco and Nannicini, Tommaso and Sobbrio, Francesco, Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7169, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2210829

Francesco Drago (Contact Author)

University of Messina, CSEF & CEPR ( email )

Piazza Pugliatti 1
Messina
Italy

Tommaso Nannicini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Francesco Sobbrio

Luiss Guido Carli University ( email )

Viale Romania 32
Rome, Roma 00197
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/francescosobbrio/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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