• Graduate program
    • Why Tinbergen Institute?
    • Program Structure
    • Courses
    • Course Registration
    • Facilities
    • Admissions
    • Recent PhD Placements
  • Research
  • News
  • Events
    • Events Calendar
    • Tinbergen Institute Lectures
    • Annual Tinbergen Institute Conference
    • Summer School
      • Inequalities in Health and Healthcare
      • Research on Productivity, Trade, and Growth
      • Behavioral Macro and Complexity
      • Business Data Science Summer School Program
    • Events Archive
  • Summer School
    • Inequalities in Health and Healthcare
    • Research on Productivity, Trade, and Growth
    • Behavioral Macro and Complexity
  • Alumni
  • Times
Home | Events Archive | A Theory on Media Bias and Elections
Seminar

A Theory on Media Bias and Elections


  • Series
    Array
  • Speaker
    Junze Sun (University of Amsterdam)
  • Location
    Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, Room 1.60
    Amsterdam
  • Date and time

    November 20, 2018
    12:15 - 13:15

This paper develops a tractable theory to study the impact of biased media on election outcomes, voter turnout and welfare. News released by media allows voters to infer (i) the relative appeal of candidates, and (ii) the closeness of elections. In large elections, the former determines the election outcome, whereas the latter drives voter turnout. With a single media outlet, an increase in media bias affects the election outcome in a non-monotonic way, and reduces voter welfare by decreasing the probability of electing the efficient candidate and increasing aggregate turnout costs. Increasing the number of media outlets can systematically shift the election outcome and voter turnout in either direction, yet it unambiguously improves information transmission and voter welfare. The impact of other ways to strengthen media competition -- such as increased polarization and prevention of collusion -- critically depends on whether media have commitment power; if not, they can worsen information transmission and voter welfare.