Politics and economics

Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Konstantin Sonin, 20 June 2016

In addition to the traditional mass media, social media has become a channel through which citizens can hold public officials and corporate leaders to account. But social media commentators can be vulnerable to manipulation and reputational damage. This column uses data on a popular blogger in Russia to show that blogs are critical of corruption in state-controlled companies can lead to decreased profit diversion and corruption by the targeted companies. Social media appears to play an important role in improving accountability, particularly when traditional media is censored or political competition is limited.

Jagjit Chadha, 16 June 2016

We are fortunate to have a consensus of views on the negative impact of leaving the EU. This column explains how a rational agent should ‘consume’ this advice. Theory tends to say that we should be wary of the motivation of those who forecast at the extreme, but that we should still put weight on the central case.

Ruben Durante, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 15 June 2016

Governments involved in conflict are often concerned with how their actions are perceived by the international community. This column uses evidence on the Israel-Palestine conflict and US news reporting between 2000 and 2011 to show how media considerations can impact military strategy. Israeli attacks are more likely to be carried out one day before the US news is expected to be dominated by important political or sport events. There is no evidence of a similar pattern to Palestinian attacks. The findings suggest that strategic behaviour could undermine the effectiveness of the mass media as a watchdog, and thus reduce citizens’ ability to keep public officials accountable. 

Mike Wickens, 07 June 2016

European Monetary Union was designed to promote economic growth, price stability, full employment, and political integration. It can be argued that so far, it has achieved none of these and has in fact made things worse.  The Five Presidents' Report contained a set of proposals for making the single currency sustainable, based on giving up more national independence. This column – the first in a two-part series asking whether future crises might be avoided through market forces without the need for the sort of procrustean proposals offered in the Report – examines the causes of the Eurozone Crisis.

Vincenzo Galasso, Tommaso Nannicini, 06 June 2016

The first mixed-gender presidential election in US history is looking increasingly likely, and there is little to suggest that the tone of this campaign will be any less negative than in recent presidential elections. This column uses experiments based around two local elections in Italy to investigate whether men and women differ in their responses to positive and negative election campaigning.  Among female voters, positive campaigning by an opponent increases his or her share of the votes and reduces the votes for the incumbent. Among male voters, however, it is negative campaigning by the opponent that swings votes away from the incumbent.

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