Essays on political accountability and selection

Carrillo-Viramontes, Jose Antonio (2018) Essays on political accountability and selection. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the political agency literature by analysing theoretically how media can enhance political accountability and selection. In this thesis, I identify and analyse two channels in which media can affect political accountability and selection. First, media spillovers can improve voters' imperfect information and promote politicians' discipline. Second, journalism can affect the distribution of candidates' quality across levels of government. The thesis is composed of three chapters.

In Chapter 1, I present a theoretical model that analyses how voters use information from media spillovers to discipline politicians, but the spillovers depend on the geographic localization of a jurisdiction. The yardstick competition model demonstrates that within isolated jurisdictions (without media spillovers) politicians are more likely to subtract private rents. Whereas in a jurisdiction connected with two neighbouring jurisdictions, politicians have a lower probability of engaging in rent extraction. Moreover, I also show that even incumbents in isolated jurisdictions have a lower probability of engaging in obtaining private rents due to positive spillovers from neighbouring jurisdictions via voters' incumbency advantage.

Chapter 2 theoretically analyses the effects of a journalist on the distribution of bad and good candidates across levels of government. Specifically, how bad (good) candidates self-select to local or national office anticipating the journalist's decision to investigate at local or national level. In the model, candidates' decisions are driven by the relative difference in the rewards for being the representative at a local or national office; and in the case of bad candidates also by the potential scandal cost of being exposed by the journalist.

The theoretical model demonstrates that increasing the scandal cost of being exposed in a journalist report, does not deter bad candidates from running nationally (when the reward ratio is large enough). Indeed, it only makes that both, bad and good candidates to be distributed evenly across levels of government. Also, I found that when the reward ratio is on a specific range, increasing the scandal cost of being exposed in a journalist report creates only two opposite types of equilibria: one in which a bad candidate runs locally, whereas, in the other one, a good candidate runs locally. Moreover, I found a non-monotonic relationship between the probability of a bad candidate being elected at a local level and the reward ratio.

Chapter 3 provides a brief description and an overview of the political system in Mexico. In particular, it describes the economic and political consequences that a one-party hegemony has had on the political corruption and accountability in Mexico. As the evidence suggests, the characteristics of the Mexican political system along with the hegemony, high centralized public finances, and a lack of electoral punishment have increased Mexico's political corruption, and ultimately reduced political accountability.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: De Fraja, Gianni
Anesi, Vincent
Keywords: Mass media, Political aspects, Mexico; Communication, Political aspects; Political ethics
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Economics
Item ID: 51666
Depositing User: Carrillo Viramontes, Jose
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 04:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 14:32

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