Mass Administration Reorganization, Media Attention and the Paradox of Information

Anthony M. Bertelli, John Andrew Sinclair
Bertelli, Anthony M. and Sinclair, John Andrew, Mass Administrative Reorganization, Media Attention, and the Paradox of Information (May 16, 2015). Public Administration Review, Forthcoming; NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2607110. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2607110

How does media attention influence government decisions about whether to terminate independent administrative agencies? We argue that an agency’s salience with partisan audiences has a direct effect, but a high media profile can disrupt normal government monitoring processes and obfuscate termination decisions. We evaluate our argument in the context of a recent mass administrative reorganization by the British coalition government using probit and heteroscedastic probit regression models. Evidence suggests that termination is less likely for agencies salient in newspapers popular with the government’s core supporters, but not those read by its minority coalition partner. We also find that agencies with greater overall newspaper salience as well as younger agencies have a higher error variance.

Wagner Faculty