On the Manipulation of Information by Governments

46 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2024

See all articles by Ariel Karlinsky

Ariel Karlinsky

Hebrew University

Moses Shayo

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 09, 2024

Abstract

Governmental information manipulation has been hard to measure and study systematically. We hand-collect data from official and unofficial sources in 134 countries to estimate misreporting of Covid mortality during 2020-21. We find that between 45%–55% of governments misreported the number of deaths. The lion's share of misreporting cannot be attributed to a country's capacity to accurately diagnose and report deaths. Contrary to some theoretical expectations, there is little evidence of governments exaggerating the severity of the pandemic. Misreporting is higher where governments face few social and institutional constraints, in countries holding elections, and in countries with a communist legacy.

Note:

Funding Information: I, Ariel Karlinsky, declare that I have not received any funding for the production of this research.

Conflict of Interests: I, Ariel Karlinsky, declare that I have no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper.

Keywords: Information manipulation, Mortality, Institutions

JEL Classification: D02, H11, H12

Suggested Citation

Karlinsky, Ariel and Shayo, Moses, On the Manipulation of Information by Governments (April 09, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4794704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4794704

Ariel Karlinsky (Contact Author)

Hebrew University ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

Moses Shayo

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

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