Character Endorsements and Electoral Competition

Archishman Chakraborty, Parikshit Ghosh
2016 American Economic Journal: Microeconomics  
We present a model in which the media endorses the character of o¢ ce-seeking candidates as a means to promote its own ideological agenda. In equilibrium, political parties completely pander to the elite-controlled media under moderate ideological con ‡ict between voters and the elite. Larger ideological con ‡ict leads to stochastic polarization-parties either adopt the role of media darlings or run highly populist campaigns. The analysis yields three critical welfare results: (a) delegation of
more » ... : (a) delegation of message strategy by the media owner to a more moderate editor leads to a Pareto improvement (b) the median voter is never better o¤ delegating choice of candidates to the informed elite, i.e., democracy has instrumental value even when voters are uninformed (c) even with optimal editorial delegation, the media may be a net harm to a majority of voters, i.e., they may be better o¤ if the informed elite did not exist. JEL Classi...cation: C72, D72, D82.
doi:10.1257/mic.20140241 fatcat:bi6lsyffdreknhdemqlvolbe3a