DP11282 Mind what your voters read: Media exposure and international economic policy making

Author(s): Giovanni Facchini, Tommaso Frattini, Cora Signorotto
Publication Date: May 2016
Keyword(s): Media exposure, political economy, Public Opinion, Roll Call Votes
JEL(s): F22, H89
Programme Areas: Public Economics, International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11282

We investigate how media exposure affects elected representatives' response to preferences on immigration and trade policy. Using a novel dataset spanning the period 1986-2004, in which we match individual opinion surveys with congressmen roll call votes, we find that greater exposure to media coverage tends to increase a politician's accountability when it comes to migration policy making, while we find no effect for trade policy. Our results thus suggest that more information on the behavior of elected officials affects decisions only when the policy issue is perceived to be salient by the electorate.