Policy evaluation, media dissemination and public perception of government performance

Theory and evidence from Italy and France

Project is finished.

Research team: Ruben Durante (Departement of Economics)

This project investigates how the dissemination of information on public policy evaluation by profit-maximizing media can influence the perception of government performance by individuals of differing ideologies, and, ultimately, electoral outcomes. We propose a theoretical framework in which the impact of policy-related coverage on electoral outcome is endogenously determined by media outlets’ incentive to slant coverage to cater to ideological viewers, and viewers’ capacity to filter news bias.

The model also allows for possible feedback effects of viewers’ perception on policy-making. To test the model’s empirical predictions we plan to investigate: i) the coevolution of policies, media coverage and voters’ attitude with respect to crime and immigration in Italy between 2001 and 2006 using a novel longitudinal dataset; ii) the importance of judgments on policy performance and credibility for voting decisions in the context of the 2012 French presidential campaign.

Associated publications :