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Electoral cycle bias in the media coverage of corruption news

We investigate the existence of an ‘electoral cycle bias’ in the timing of media coverage of news with high political value. In particular, we analyze how the electoral cycles at the regional level influence the coverage of news about corruption scandals in the Italian Regional Health Systems by two important national newspapers having oppo- site ideology, La Repubblica (left-wing oriented) and Il Giornale (right-wing oriented). Our findings show that Il Giornale produces more articles about corruption scandals involving left-wing politicians in the days right before the elections, while it reduces the number of those about right episodes of corruption and without any political con- nection. Instead, for La Repubblica we do not find any evidence of the existence of neither an electoral cycle, nor an ideological bias in the coverage of corruption. These results are robust to different model specifications, the potential endogeneity of some elections, and different measures of the time to the elections.

Le Moglie, M. and Turati, G., 2019. Electoral cycle bias in the media coverage of corruption news. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 163, pp.140-157.