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Petrova on Inequality and Media Capture

Abstract: Popular support of redistributive policies depends on information they have about the tax system and efficiency of public projects. Mass media provides a convenient means for manipulating public opinion, even when voters understand that the media can be biased. I develop a theory of media capture in which the rich can influence information published in a media outlet at a cost. The model shows that higher inequality is associated with lower media freedom; this effect is stronger in democratic regimes. I find empirical support for the model in both panel data and cross-country analysis.

Maria Petrova (2007), “Inequality and Media Capture,” unpublished paper. Available here.

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