Inequality and Media Capture
Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats - ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); New Economic School (NES)
January 11, 2007
People's support of redistributive policies depends on information they have about the tax system and efficiency of public projects. Mass media provides a convenient means for manipulating public opinion, even when voters understand that the media can be biased. I develop a theory of media capture in which the rich can influence information published in a media outlet at a cost. The model shows that higher inequality is associated with lower media freedom; this effect is stronger in democratic regimes. I find empirical support for the model in both panel data and cross-country models.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: inequality, redistribution, mass media, taxation, public goods
JEL Classification: D31, D72, H41
Date posted: January 25, 2006