The Changing Face of Culture: Gauging the Impact of a Free Media
Posted: 17 Sep 2012
Date Written: 2011
This paper empirically assesses the relationship between culture and a free press. The results reveal that a privatized or ‘free media’ strongly influences informal institutions of a country or what is commonly known as culture. By providing unbiased and a wide variety information to the masses, the media sector not only reduces information asymmetry and transaction costs but also helps generate higher levels of social capital. It acts as an effective liaison between the masses and the government and also among various religious, ethnic and other fractionalized groups in a society. We use the proxy of informal institutions identified by Tabellini (2007) which consists of four traits. The results are robust to alternate specifications and inclusion of controls.
Keywords: informal institutions, culture, media freedom, institution
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