Media Attention and the Demise of Agency Independence: Evidence from a Mass Administrative Reorganization in Britain

39 Pages Posted: 18 May 2015

See all articles by Anthony M. Bertelli

Anthony M. Bertelli

New York University - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics

John Sinclair

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Haram Lee

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy

Date Written: May 16, 2015

Abstract

When administrative agencies are terminated, do they quietly fade from public view? On the one hand, the terminated agencies may have weak issue networks and agency reputations allowing them to lose public salience. On the other hand, strong issue networks and agency reputations may mean that termination increases attention to the agencies, making the government pay the cost of public attention generated by the actors within the issue networks. We assess these competing claims by using a unique dataset from a recent mass reorganization of independent agencies in Britain as well as data capturing media attention to agencies in major national newspapers. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find that the agencies subject to termination experience reductions in the number of media coverage in major newspapers, disappearing from public view during the post-decision reform period.

Keywords: administrative reorganization, media attention, agency termination

JEL Classification: H11

Suggested Citation

Bertelli, Anthony M. and Sinclair, John and Lee, Haram, Media Attention and the Demise of Agency Independence: Evidence from a Mass Administrative Reorganization in Britain (May 16, 2015). Public Administration, Forthcoming; NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2607087. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2607087

Anthony M. Bertelli (Contact Author)

New York University - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

John Sinclair

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

Haram Lee

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, CA 90089-062
United States

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