Media access and political competition: evidence from Catalan T.V. in Valencia

Available from: 
October 2013
Paper author(s): 
Leopoldo Fergusson (Universidad de los Andes)
Topic: 
Politics and Economy
Year: 
2013


In this paper, we take advantage of a natural experiment to measure the impact of television on electoral outcomes. In particular, in 2007 and after a series of failed attempts in a history of constant disputes, the government of Valencia in Spain shut down a number of repeater stations of Tv3, a television channel from the neighboring region of Catalonia. However, the shut down did not affect uniformly all of Valencia. Hence, we are able to compare, using a simple difference-in-differences strategy, the impact of the shut-down for the affected municipalities. Tv3 is likely to be important for electoral outcomes in Valencia because it is widely recognized internationally for its independence and quality, it is amply seen by Valencians, and it is especially sought after for its news and documentaries. Moreover, given its regional nature and the policy stance of the right-wing PP party and the left-wing PSOE on regional nationalism, Tv3 is likely to be more attuned with the PSOE than the PP. Our (preliminary) findings suggest that the closure of Tv3 did not have a significant impact on electoral turnout. However, in line with our expectations, it increased vote shares for the PP and decreased support for the PSOE (though the latter result is somewhat less robust). Since PP was already a relatively strong party in several areas in Valencia, this also implied a decrease in electoral competition, as captured by a party-level Herfindahl index. In ongoing research we explore if this has consequences for policy and also investigate the (apparently different) impact of a later closure of all Tv3 stations in Valencia.

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Research section: 
Lacea 2013 annual meeting
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