In the July issue of the American Economic Review, Ruben Durante, Paolo Pinotti, and Andrea Tesei argue that entertainment TV has shaped Italian politics and affected the cognitive skills of viewers. From the abstract:
We study the political impact of commercial television in Italy exploiting the staggered introduction of Berlusconi’s private TV network, Mediaset, in the early 1980s. We find that individuals with early access to Mediaset all-entertainment content were more likely to vote for Berlusconi’s party in 1994, when he first ran for office. The effect persists for five elections and is driven by heavy TV viewers, namely the very young and the elderly. Regarding possible mechanisms, we find that individuals exposed to entertainment TV as children were less cognitively sophisticated and civic-minded as adults, and ultimately more vulnerable to Berlusconi’s populist rhetoric.
The World Bank’s Doing Business project claims to provide
objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.
In the Wall Street Journal, Josh Zumbrun and Ian Talley report that the ranking must be revised.
Over time, World Bank staff put a heavy thumb on the scales of its report by repeatedly changing the methodology that was used to calculate the country rankings, Mr. Romer said.
The focus of the World Bank’s corrections will be changes that had the effect of sharply penalizing the ranking of Chile under the most recent term of Chile’s outgoing president, Michelle Bachelet.
Paul Romer, the World Bank’s chief economist, apologized.
Update (Jan 16): On his blog, Paul Romer tries to clarify.
Andy Kiersz and Hunter Walker report in Businessinsider about a Crowd Pack analysis of US federal campaign contributions.
As far as donors are concerned, the analysis suggests that the media, entertainment and tech industries as well as academics tend to support “liberal” candidates. The same holds true, somewhat less pronounced, for the pharmaceutical industry and lawyers.
In contrast, farmers as well as representatives of the building and construction, mining, oil, gas and coal and tobacco industries mostly support “conservative” candidates. Other industries appear very polarised.