The Relevance of Political Science
Edited by Sören Holmberg and Bo Rothstein
7. Press freedom and corruption Mathias A. Färdigh, Emma Andersson and Henrik Oscarsson A widespread and commonly held belief is that a free and independent press fulfills an important role in fighting corruption. International organizations, such as the World Bank and Transparency International, regard media and a free press as one of the major solutions in curbing corruption. In numerous policy proposals and general recommendations, the importance of media plurality, media freedom and competition is emphasized. Nonetheless, the knowledge as to how effectively media and a free press actually perform to combat corruption is still limited, albeit growing. This chapter demonstrates that research on the relationship between press freedom and corruption is far from exhausted, and that additional and new approaches are needed to learn more. In this chapter, we present the most thorough robustness check of the relationship to date. We combine two different models of the relationship between press freedom and corruption and bring forward more and improved data using the Quality of Government (QoG) dataset. We include a number of different measures of corruption, and apply a new estimation technique in order to deal with well-known problems that arise when estimating models with many time-invariant or almost time-invariant variables. The reexamination shows that the relationship between press freedom and corruption prevails in our extended analyses: the freer the press, the cleaner the country. We also confirm that the effects of press freedom on corruption levels are more pronounced in the most democratic countries. PRESS FREEDOM AND...
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