NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Special Interests and the Media: Theory and an Application to Climate Change

Jesse M. Shapiro

NBER Working Paper No. 19807
Issued in January 2014, Revised in October 2016
NBER Program(s):Environment and Energy Economics, Public Economics, Political Economy

A journalist reports to a voter on an unknown, policy-relevant state. Competing special interests can make claims that contradict the facts but seem credible to the voter. A reputational incentive to avoid taking sides leads the journalist to report special interests’ claims to the voter. In equilibrium, the voter can remain uninformed even when the journalist is perfectly informed. Communication is improved if the journalist discloses her partisan leanings. The model provides an account of persistent public ignorance on climate change that is consistent with narrative and quantitative evidence.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19807

Published: Jesse M. Shapiro, 2016. "Special Interests and the Media: Theory and an Application to Climate Change," Journal of Public Economics, . citation courtesy of

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