Commercial Television and Voter Information

33 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2005

See all articles by Andrea Prat

Andrea Prat

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

David Strömberg

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2005

Abstract

What is the effect of liberalizing a country's broadcasting system on the level of information of its citizens? To analyze this question, we first construct a model of state monopoly broadcasting where the government selects the amount of television news coverage of different public policy outcomes, and then sets public policy and political rents. Voters vote retrospectively given the news provided. In equilibrium, the incumbent provides some news coverage, and more so to groups for which reducing policy uncertainty is more important. We then introduce a profit-maximizing commercial channel. It provides more news coverage to groups of voters valuable to advertisers or underprovided by the state monopoly. We test our predictions on a panel of individuals interviewed in the elections before and after the entry of commercial TV in Sweden. We find that people who start watching commercial TV news increase their level of political knowledge more than those who do not. They also increase their political participation more. The positive informational effects are particularly valuable since commercial TV news attracts ex ante uniformed voters.

Keywords: Commercial television, mass media, public service broadcasting, voter information

JEL Classification: L33

Suggested Citation

Prat, Andrea and Strömberg, David, Commercial Television and Voter Information (April 2005). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4989, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=772002

Andrea Prat (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Finance ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

David Strömberg

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden
+46 816 4376 (Phone)
+46 816 1443 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
43
Abstract Views
2,480
PlumX Metrics