Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 128, Issue 2, pp 859–880 | Cite as

On the Confluence of Freedom of the Press, Control of Corruption and Societal Welfare

  • Christopher L. Ambrey
  • Christopher M. FlemingEmail author
  • Matthew Manning
  • Christine Smith
Article

Abstract

This paper employs data from 135 countries to investigate the role a free press plays in controlling corruption and the extent to which this may lead to greater national income and enhanced societal welfare (as measured by self-reported life satisfaction). Results suggest that freedom of the press, through enabling the control of corruption, is associated with increased real GDP per capita and (independently) higher life satisfaction. This provides further motivation for policy makers to give greater recognition to the aspects of societal welfare not readily encapsulated within conventional measures of national income.

Keywords

Corruption Freedom of the press Life satisfaction World Happiness Database 

Notes

Acknowledgments

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2014 SIBR-RDINRRU Conference on Interdisciplinary Business and Economics Research, Hong Kong; we thank participants for providing valuable feedback and comments.

References

  1. Acemoglu, D. (1995). Reward structures and the allocation of talent. European Economic Review, 39(1), 17–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Acemoglu, D., Naidu, S., Restrepo, P., & Robinson, J. (2014). Democracy does cause growth. NBER Working Paper No. 20004. Cambridge, USA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  3. Alesina, A., Easterly, W., Kurlat, S., & Wacziarg, R. (2003). Fractionalization. Journal of Economic Growth, 8(2), 155-194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ambrey, C., & Fleming, C. (2014). Valuing ecosystem diversity in South East Queensland: A life satisfaction approach. Social Indicators Research, 115(1), 45–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ambrey, C., Fleming, C., & Chan, A. (2014). Estimating the cost of air pollution in South East Queensland: An application of the life satisfaction non-market valuation approach. Ecological Economics, 97(1), 172–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barro, R., & Lee, J. (2013). Barro-Lee education attainment dataset. http://www.barrolee.com/. Accessed 4 May 2014.
  7. Beekman, G., Bulte, E., & Nillesen, E. (2014). Corruption, investments and contributions to public goods: Experimental evidence from rural Liberia. Journal of Public Economics, 115(1), 37–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brunetti, A., & Weder, B. (2003). A free press is bad news for corruption. Journal of Public Economics, 87(7), 1801–1824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campos, J., Lien, D., & Pradhan, S. (1999). The impact of corruption on investment: Predictability matters. World Development, 27(6), 1059–1067.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Central Intelligence Agency. (2014). The World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/. Accessed 4 May 2014.
  11. Chowdhury, S. (2004). The effect of democracy and press freedom on corruption: An empirical test. Economics Letters, 85(1), 93–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coyne, C., & Leeson, P. (2004). Read all about it! Understanding the role of media in economic development. Kyklos, 57(1), 21–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coyne, C., & Leeson, P. (2009). Media as a mechanism of institutional change and reinforcement. Kyklos, 62(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Di Tella, R., MacCulloch, R., & Oswald, A. (2003). The macroeconomics of happiness. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 85(4), 809–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diener, E., Inglehart, R., & Tay, L. (2013). Theory and validity of life satisfaction scales. Social Indicators Research, 112(3), 497–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Djankov, S., McLiesh, C., Nenova, T., & Shleifer, A. (2002). Media ownership and prosperity. In R. Islam, S. Djankov, & C. McLeish (Eds.), The right to tell: The role of mass media in economic development. Washington DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  17. Djankov, S., McLiesh, C., Nenova, T., & Shleifer, A. (2003). Who owns the media? Journal of Law and Economics, 46(2), 341–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Feenstra, R., Inklaar, R., & Timmer, M. (2013). The next generation of the Penn World Table. http://www.ggdc.net/pwt. Accessed 4 May 2014.
  19. Ferreira, S., Akay, A., Brereton, F., Cunado, J., Martinsson, P., Moro, M., & Ningal, T. (2013). Life satisfaction and air quality in Europe. Ecological Economics, 88(1), 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., & Frijters, P. (2004). How important is methodology for the estimates of the determinants of happiness? The Economic Journal, 114(497), 641–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Freedom House. (2013). Freedom of the press. Retrieved 9 April 2014, from http://www.freedomhouse.org/report-types/freedom-press.
  22. Freeman, A., & Haveman, R. (1977). Congestion, quality deterioration, and heterogeneous tastes. Journal of Public Economics, 8(2), 225–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Freille, S., Haque, M., & Kneller, R. (2007). A contribution to the empirics of press freedom and corruption. European Journal of Political Economy, 23(4), 838–862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frey, B., Luechinger, S., & Stutzer, A. (2007). Calculating tragedy: Assessing the costs of terrorism. Journal of Economic Surveys, 21(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Frey, B., Luechinger, S., & Stutzer, A. (2009). The life satisfaction approach to valuing public goods: The case of terrorism. Public Choice, 138(3–4), 317–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Frey, B., Luechinger, S., & Stutzer, A. (2010). The life satisfaction approach to environmental valuation. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 2(1), 139–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frey, B., & Stutzer, A. (2002a). Happiness and economics: How the economy and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Frey, B., & Stutzer, A. (2002b). What can economists learn from happiness research? Journal of Economic Literature, 40(2), 402–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gupta, S., Mello, L., & Sharan, R. (2001). Corruption and military spending. European Journal of Political Economy, 17(4), 749–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hakkala, K., Norbäck, P., & Svaleryd, H. (2008). Asymmetric effects of corruption on FDI: Evidence from Swedish multinational firms. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 90(4), 627–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hall, R., & Jones, C. (1999). Why do some countries produce so much more output per worker than others? The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(1), 83–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hodge, A., Shankar, S., Rao, P., & Duhs, A. (2011). Exploring the links between corruption and growth. Review of Development Economics, 15(3), 474–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Huntington, S. (1968). Political order in changing societies. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Kahneman, D. (1999). Objective happiness. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 3–25). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  35. Karlekar, K., & Dunham, J. (2013). Freedom of the press 2013: Middle East volatility amid global decline. Washington DC, USA: Freedom House.Google Scholar
  36. Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Mastruzzi, M. (2010). The worldwide governance indicators: Methodology and analytical issues. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5430. Washington DC, USA: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  37. Krueger, A. (1974). The political economy of a rent-seeking society. American Economic Review, 64(3), 291–303.Google Scholar
  38. Lambsdorff, J. (2003). How corruption affects persistent capital flows. Economics of Governance, 4(3), 229–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lambsdorff, J. (2006). Causes and consequences of corruption: What do we know from a cross-section of countries? In S. Rose-Ackerman (Ed.), International handbook on the economics of corruption (pp. 3–51). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.   Google Scholar
  40. Layard, R. (2006). Happiness and public policy: A challenge to the profession. Economic Journal, 116(510), c24-c33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lederman, D., Loayza, N., & Soares, R. (2005). Accountability and corruption: Political institutions matter. Economics and Politics, 17(1), 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Leeson, P. (2008). Media freedom, political knowledge, and participation. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(2), 155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Leeson, P., & Coyne, C. (2007). The reformers’ dilemma: Media, policy ownership, and reform. European Journal of Law and Economics, 23(3), 237–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Leff, N. (1964). Economic development through bureaucratic corruption. The American Behavioral Scientist, 8(1), 8–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lessmann, C., & Markwardt, G. (2010). One size fits all? Decentralization, corruption and the monitoring of bureaucrats. World Development, 38(4), 631–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lucas, R., & Donnellan, M. (2012). Estimating the reliability of single-item life satisfaction measures: Results from four national panel studies. Social Indicators Research, 105(3), 232–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Luechinger, S. (2009). Valuing air quality using the life satisfaction approach. The Economic Journal, 119(536), 482–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Luechinger, S., & Raschky, P. (2009). Valuing flood disasters using the life satisfaction approach. Journal of Public Economics, 93(3–4), 620–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Marshall, M. (2011). Polity IV project. http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/polity4.htm. Accessed 4 May 2014.
  50. Mauro, P. (1995). Corruption and growth. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110(3), 681–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mauro, P. (1998). Corruption and the composition of government expenditure. Journal of Public Economics, 69(2), 263–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Menz, T., & Welsch, H. (2010). Population aging and environmental preferences in OECD countries: The case of air pollution. Ecological Economics, 69(12), 2582–2589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Metcalfe, R., Powdthavee, N., & Dolan, P. (2011). Destruction and distress: Using a quasi-experiment to show the effects of the September 11 attacks on mental well-being in the United Kingdom. The Economic Journal, 121(550), F81–F103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Murphy, K., Shleifer, A., & Vishny, R. (1991). The allocation of talent: The implications for growth. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106(2), 503–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Murphy, K., Shleifer, A., & Vishny, R. (1993). Why is rent-seeking so costly to growth? The American Economic Review, 83(2), 409–414.Google Scholar
  56. Olken, B. (2006). Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia. Journal of Public Economics, 90(4), 853–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Pellegrini, L., & Gerlagh, R. (2004). Corruption’s effect on growth and its transmission channels. Kyklos, 57(3), 429–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Plümper, T., & Troeger, V. (2007). Efficient estimation of time-invariant and rarely changing variables in finite sample panel analyses with unit fixed effects. Political Analysis, 15, 124–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Reinikka, R., & Svensson, J. (2004). Local capture: Evidence from a central government transfer program in Uganda. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119(2), 679–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Reinikka, R., & Svensson, J. (2005). Fighting corruption to improve schooling: Evidence from a newspaper campaign in Uganda. Journal of the European Economic Association, 3(2–3), 259–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Roodman, D. (2009). Estimating fully observed recursive mixed-process models with cmp. Working Paper No. 168. Washington DC, USA: The Center for Global Development.Google Scholar
  62. Rose-Ackerman, S. (1999). Corruption and government: Causes, consequences and reform. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schumpeter, J. (1942/1994). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. Oxford, UK: Roultledge.Google Scholar
  64. Schyns, P. (1998). Crossnational differences in happiness: Economic and cultural factors explored. Social Indicators Research, 43(1–2), 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Stiglitz, J. (2002). Transparency in government. In R. Islam, S. Djankov, & C. McLeish (Eds.), The right to tell: The role of mass media in economic development. Washington DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  66. Svensson, J. (2005). Eight questions about corruption. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(3), 19–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tavits, M. (2008). Representation, corruption and subjective well-being. Comparative Political Studies, 41(12), 1607–1630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. The World Bank. (2013). Worldwide governance indicators. http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home. Accessed 4 May 2014.
  69. The World Bank. (2014). World development indicators. http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators. Accessed 4 May 2014.
  70. Treisman, D. (2000). The causes of corruption: A cross-national study. Journal of Public Economics, 76(3), 399–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Veenhoven, R. (1997). Advances in understanding happiness. Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 18(2), 29–67.Google Scholar
  72. Veenhoven, R. (1999). Quality of life in individualistic society. Social Indicators Research, 48(2), 157–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Veenhoven, R. (2014). World Database of Happiness—Average happiness in 149 nations 2000–2009. Retrieved 4 May 2014, from worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl/hap_nat/findingreports/RankReport_AverageHappiness.php.Google Scholar
  74. Wei, S. (2000). How taxing is corruption on international investors? The Review of Economics and Statistics, 82(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Welsch, H. (2003). Freedom and rationality as predictors of cross-national happiness patterns: The role of income as a mediating variable. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4(3), 295–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Welsch, H. (2004). Corruption, growth and the environment: A cross-country analysis. Environment and Development Economics, 9(5), 663–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Welsch, H. (2008a). The social costs of civil conflict: Evidence from surveys of happiness. Kyklos, 61(2), 320–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Welsch, H. (2008b). The welfare costs of corruption. Applied Economics, 40(14), 1839–1849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wolfensohn, J. (1999). Voices for the poor (p. A39). Washington, DC: The Washington Post.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher L. Ambrey
    • 1
  • Christopher M. Fleming
    • 2
    Email author
  • Matthew Manning
    • 3
  • Christine Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Urban Research ProgramGriffith University, Gold Coast CampusNathanAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Accounting, Finance and EconomicsGriffith University, Nathan CampusNathanAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Copland Building No. 24The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations