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A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics

A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics

Elgar original reference

Edited by Francesco Forte, Ram Mudambi and Pietro Maria Navarra

This comprehensive and thought-provoking Handbook reviews public sector economics from pluralist perspectives that either complement or reach beyond mainstream views. The book takes a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach, drawing on economic elements in the fields of philosophy, sociology, psychology, history and law.

Chapter 13: The political economy of news media: theory, evidence and open issues

Francesco Sobbrio

Subjects: economics and finance, austrian economics, history of economic thought, public choice theory, public finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public choice


News media are widely recognized as a vital element for the health of modern democracies. Despite the importance of promoting an efficient market for information, the economic literature has started analyzing the market for news only very recently (i.e., in the last decade). Nevertheless, there is already quite a large (and rapidly growing) number of academic contributions addressing a wide range of interesting research questions on news media. There are many possible dimensions along which to categorize this literature. For example, contributions may be characterized according to the type of news media involved, the outcomes analyzed or the rationale they use to explain given stylized facts/empirical evidence. Rather than using a general categorization fitting each contribution, I analyze different strands of the literature separately and propose for each of them a suitable taxonomy. At the same time, throughout the survey I provide a discussion of the links among contributions belonging to different strands of the literature to try to achieve a comprehensive framework. Overall, the literature on the political economy of news media may be divided into three main categories: _ The literature looking at the effects of the presence of news media on political/public policy outcomes (i.e., assessing the effect of the availability and pluralism of news media on political/public policy outcomes). That is, this literature shares the research question: do news media have an effect on political/public policy outcomes?

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