When Do Media Stations Support Electoral Accountability? A Field Experiment in Mexico

The importance of an informed electorate for electoral accountability is widely recognized. However, while a large literature has focused on voter access to media news sources, little is known empirically about the incentives for media stations to provide voters with indicators of their incumbent party’s performance in office. This project seeks to explain the low supply of incumbent performance information in Mexico using a two-period clustered design exploiting differential treatment intensity within media market clusters. We first identify the extent to which search costs affect whether radio stations and newspapers report the results of independent audit reports detailing mayoral malfeasance in office. We then identify how the effects of providing media outlets with information varies with media market competition and proximity to elections. The results will thus shed light on an essential but understudied condition required for voters to be able to hold governments accountable for their performance in office.

RFP Cycle:
Fall 2015; Off-cycle 2016
  • Horacio Larreguy
  • John Marshall
  • Full project
  • Pilot project