Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
- Chair: Francisco Pino, University of Chile
The Coordination Consequences of Media Censorship: Experimental Evidence from China
AbstractPolitical actions threatening authoritarian regimes are collective and coordinated in nature, and their outcomes hinge on citizens' access to uncensored information. We combine a field experiment with a series of lab experiments in China to understand how removing censorship for 18 months affects citizens' beliefs regarding others and shapes political coordination outcomes. We find that exposure to uncensored information makes citizens more likely to believe that others are equally well informed, and share their pessimism of the economy and skepticism of the regime. The newly-exposed citizens are substantially more likely to engage in collective actions supporting politically sensitive organizations, even with those in the control group. Using a global game framework, we show that the increased collective action inclination is primarily driven by changes in beliefs regarding others. These results suggest that the removal of censorship could help overcome collective action challenges and undermine the regime stability.
Limiting the Market for Information as a Tool of Governance: Evidence from Russia
AbstractThis paper presents a novel measure of subtle government intervention in the news market achieved by throttling the Internet. In countries where the news media is highly regulated and censored, the free distribution of information (including audio and any visual imagery) over the Internet is often seen as a threat to the legitimacy of the ruling regime. This study compares electoral outcomes at polling station level between the Russian presidential election at the beginning of March 2012 with the parliamentary election held three months earlier in December 2011. Electoral regions in two cases are compared: regions that experienced internet censorship at the presidential election but not the parliamentary election; versus regions that maintained a good internet connection without interference for both elections. Internet censorship is identified using randomised internet probing data in accuracies down to 15-minute intervals for up to a year before the election. Using a difference in difference design, an average effect of increased vote share of 3.2 percentage point for the government candidate is found due to internet throttling. Results are robust to different specifications and electoral controls are used to account for the possibility of vote rigging.
The Economic Effects of Catholic Church Censorship During the Counter-Reformation
AbstractWe present a new database of the population of books censored by the Catholic Church during the Counter-Reformation period (16th and beginning of 17th centuries) containing information on titles, authors, georeferenced printing places and printers. We identify censored books by topic (religion, sciences, social sciences and arts), languages, countries where books where prohibited, and describe patterns of censorship across political entities in Europe over time, using the index produced in Rome (starting in 1564) as well as local indexes of prohibited books such as the Index of Louvain and the Index of the Spanish Inquisition. We then test the effects of censorship on the number of printed books, on the location of thinkers, on the spread of Protestantism and ultimately on city growth. Preliminary results suggest that Catholic censorship did have an impact on the publication of books and, therefore, on the diffusion of knowledge.
- D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
- O3 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights