Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Media attention and bureaucratic responsiveness

Erlich, Aaron, Berliner, Daniel ORCID: 0000-0002-0285-0215, Palmer-rubin, Brian and Bagozzi, Benjamin E (2021) Media attention and bureaucratic responsiveness. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 31 (4). 687 - 703. ISSN 1053-1858

[img] Text (muab001) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (274kB)

Identification Number: 10.1093/jopart/muab001


How does media attention shape bureaucratic behavior? We answer this question using novel data from the Mexican federal government. We first develop a new indicator for periods of anomalously heightened media attention, based on 150,000 news articles pertaining to 22 Mexican government ministries and agencies, and qualitatively categorize their themes. We then evaluate government responsiveness using administrative data on roughly 500,000 requests for government information over a 10-year period, with their associated responses. A panel fixed-effects approach demonstrates effects of media attention on the volume of outgoing weekly responses, while a second approach finds effects on the “queue” of information requests already filed when anomalous media attention begins. Consistent across these empirical approaches, we find that media attention shapes bureaucratic behavior. Positive or neutral attention is associated with reduced responsiveness, while the effects of negative attention vary, with attention to government failures leading to increased responsiveness but attention to corruption leading to reduced responsiveness. These patterns are consistent with mechanisms of reputation management, disclosure threat, and workload burden, but inconsistent with mechanisms of credit claiming or blame avoidance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 16:27
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2021 08:27

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics