The reformers’ dilemma: media, policy ownership, and reform
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Current proposals for strengthening policy ownership in reforming economies are fundamentally flawed. Modeling the reform process as a prisoners’ dilemma demonstrates that political agents must overcome this conflict of interests before present proposals for bolstering ownership will work. A politically autonomous mass media is one important mechanism enabling political agents to do this. Reforming countries without free media face an uphill battle overcoming the problems associated with transition. We test our theory by investigating the relationship between media freedom, foreign aid, and economic development in 26 post-socialist transition countries. The results of this analysis support our theory.
KeywordsMedia Reform Policy ownership
JEL ClassificationsO17 O12 P16 K20
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We thank Peter Boettke, Russell S. Sobel, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments and suggestions. Leeson was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University when this research was conducted. We would like to thank the Mercatus Center and Earhart Foundation for financial support.
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