The Project

I am the Principal Investigator of the research project "The Political Economy of Media Bias." The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship grant no. 843315-PEMB). My aim is to better understand media bias and its impact on political outcomes.

Project Description

In a democracy, citizens exercise power by voting and can direct policy through their elected representatives in government. This process is directly affected by voters’ political preferences and beliefs, which are largely shaped by the media. There is growing concern that the mass media has the power to manipulate as there is substantial evidence that media bias can impact voters’ decisions. The EU-funded PEMB project will use novel game-theoretical and experimental techniques to determine how media bias affects electoral and political outcomes. Involving both theoretical and empirical investigations, it will also assess the effectiveness of current measures to regulate the media. The findings will assist policymakers and media professionals address issues of informational distortions.

Objective

The well-functioning of modern democracies crucially hinges on the information that voters receive, and mass media are the primary source of policy-relevant information. Yet, substantial evidence indicates that media bias has an impact on voters’ decisions, and there is a widespread concern among governments regarding the implications of such information distortions on political outcomes. To date, it is not clear what the effects of media bias are and how regulators should intervene in order to mitigate the problem. This project will employ both novel game-theoretical and experimental techniques to understand the impact of strategically biased news. This innovative modeling strategy will allow me to address two key and timely questions: how media bias affects electoral and political outcomes? How should news markets be regulated? The main objective is to understand political distortions as a function of the news providers' costs of information misreporting. Regulators often intervene by affecting such misreporting costs, e.g. via direct fines or the introduction of media watchdogs. However, this link is highly understudied, and until now there is no formal model that can assess what are the implications of interventions directed toward regulating misreporting costs. The project will focus on understanding the distortions of media bias on three crucial dimensions: (i) the choice of voters, (ii) the process of policy-making, and (iii) competition. The nature of the project is intrinsically multidisciplinary as it involves both theoretical and empirical investigations which are highly relevant and pertinent to studies in economics, political science, and media studies. Results have the potential to improve the efficacy of regulations of the media sector, mitigate the informational distortions in electoral and political outcomes, and make room for further research in the political economy of media bias and its market determinants.

Research Outputs