Who Owns the Media?

52 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2001

See all articles by Simeon Djankov

Simeon Djankov

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Caralee McLiesh

World Bank - International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Tatiana Nenova

World Bank, South Asia; World Bank - Policy Unit; Harvard University - Department of Economics

Andrei Shleifer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 19, 2001

Abstract

Almost universally the largest media firms are controlled by the government or by private families.

Djankov, McLiesh, Nenova, and Shleifer examine patterns of media ownership in 97 countries around the world. They find that almost universally the largest media firms are controlled by the government or by private families.

Government ownership is more pervasive in broadcasting than in the printed media. Government ownership is generally associated with less press freedom, fewer political and economic rights, inferior governance, and, most conspicuously, inferior social outcomes in education and health. The adverse effects of government ownership on political and economic freedom are stronger for newspapers than for television.

The adverse effects of government ownership of the media do not appear to be restricted solely to instances of government monopoly.

Djankov, McLiesh, Nenova, and Shleifer present a range of evidence on the adverse consequences of state ownership of the media. State ownership of the media is often argued to be justified on behalf of the social needs of the disadvantaged. But if their findings are correct, increasing private ownership of the media - through privatization or by encouraging the entry of privately owned media - can advance a variety of political and economic goals, especially those of meeting the social needs of the poor.

This paper - a product of the Office of the Senior Vice President, Development Economics - is one in a series of background papers prepared for World Development Report 2002: Institutions for Markets.

JEL Classification: H4, L3

Suggested Citation

Djankov, Simeon and McLiesh, Caralee and Nenova, Tatiana and Shleifer, Andrei, Who Owns the Media? (April 19, 2001). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Paper No. 1919; World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2620. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=267386

Simeon Djankov

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Caralee McLiesh

World Bank - International Finance Corporation (IFC) ( email )

2121 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Tatiana Nenova

World Bank, South Asia ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Policy Unit ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States
(202) 458-9531 (Phone)
(202) 522-2031 (Fax)

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Andrei Shleifer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5046 (Phone)
617-496-1708 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/~ashleife/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,662
Abstract Views
9,695
rank
8,960
PlumX Metrics