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Manipulated news model: Electoral competition and mass media

Shintaro Miura

Games and Economic Behavior, 2019, vol. 113, issue C, 306-338

Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between media manipulation, the strategic suppression of relevant information by mass media, and self-mediatization, the strategic exploitation of media coverage by candidates, in elections. In the model, a voter cannot directly observe the policies proposed by two office-motivated candidates. The voter learns this information through media reports before voting takes place, while the media outlet suppresses some of this information. Because the voter's decision-making could be incorrect (direct distortion), the candidates have an incentive to win the election by influencing the media coverage through policy settings (indirect distortion). As a result, policy convergence to the voter's ideal policy occurs if and only if the media bias is sufficiently small. We then characterize the set of equilibria in terms of the degree of distortion. The results suggest that if either strategic media manipulation or competition among the candidates is omitted, then the distortion is nonnegligibly misspecified.

Keywords: Downsian voting model; Media manipulation; Self-mediatization; Persuasion games; Direct/indirect distortion; Equilibrium set; Misspecification (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 D72 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:113:y:2019:i:c:p:306-338