DP3132 | Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability

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It is widely recognized that active media can play a role in enhancing political competition by informing voters. Collusion between government and media can, however, undermine this role. We extend the political accountability model to include the presence of media outlets and the possibility that the incumbent exerts influence over them. In equilibrium, the media structure is linked to political outcomes in two ways: directly through its monitoring capacity and indirectly through political capture. We examine evidence both across countries and within India.