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Politicians under investigation: The news Media's effect on the likelihood of resignation

Marcel Garz () and Jil Sörensen

Journal of Public Economics, 2017, vol. 153, issue C, 82-91

Abstract: This paper studies the effect of news media on the probability of resigning from office of politicians being subject to criminal investigation. Using data on cases in which the political immunity of German representatives was lifted, we find that resignations are more common when the media covers the case intensely. The amount of this news coverage, in turn, depends on the availability of other newsworthy, exogenous events. Therefore, we instrument for coverage of liftings of immunity with the overall news pressure. We estimate the causal effect and find that a change from no coverage to the mean coverage increases the likelihood of resignation by 6.4 percentage points. The effect is likely driven by the crowding out of reports on politicians with the same ideology as the newspaper, rather than reports on representatives with different political leanings. There is no evidence that the reporting affects the chances of conviction.

Keywords: News media; Political accountability; Prosecution; Resignation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K14 L82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Working Paper: Politicians under Investigation: The News Media’s Effect on the Likelihood of Resignation (2016) Downloads
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