Corruption of the Press - A Cross Country Panel Data Study of Corruption, Press Freedom and the Perceptions of Press Freedom

University essay from Lunds universitet/Nationalekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: In this paper I investigate the relation between corruption and press freedom, perceived press freedom and the difference between press freedom and perceived press freedom as well as the causality of corruption on press freedom. My hypothesis is that corruption has a negative effect on both press freedom and perceived press freedom but that a higher level of corruption tends to make people believe the press is freer than it actually is. The methodological approach can be divided into two parts; first I run a set of cross-sectional regressions, with ethnolinguistic fractionalization as instrumental variable for corruption, on 29 European countries based on data from 2012, where the dependent variables varies between press freedom, perceived press freedom and the difference between press freedom and perceived press freedom; in the second part I run a panel data regression based on 45 European countries between 2005-2016, with press freedom as the only dependent variable. The results from the cross-sectional regressions suggest that corruption is significantly negative related to press freedom and that media concentration is significantly negative related to perceived press freedom. These results also suggest corruption being significantly negative related to the difference between press freedom and perceived press freedom, which implies that a higher level corruption tends to make people believe the press is freer than it actually is. The panel data regression however, shows that the causal effect of corruption on press freedom is negative but not significant.

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