The key democratic task of the press is to be a watchdog for governments and politicians. Do the media carry out their duty? A recent IZA Discussion Paper by Francesco Drago, Tommaso Nannicini and Francesco Sobbrio suggests they do. The authors use the presence (or absence) of local newspapers in Italian cities to analyze the effect of media coverage on political outcomes. They find that the entry of newspapers improves the efficiency of the municipal government – especially if the mayor will run again for office. Also, more local newspapers lead to higher participation in municipal elections and increase the probability for incumbent mayors to be reelected.
Newspapers make governments more efficient
IZA Discussion Paper No. 7169 Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit
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