Why are More Trade-Open Countries More Likely to Repress the Media?

Justin Murphy, University of Southampton
April 15, 2014

Website: jmrphy.net
Email: j.murphy@soton.ac.uk
Twitter: @jmrphy


  1. The Puzzle

  2. A Theory

  3. Research Strategy

  4. Quantitive findings

  5. Qualitative findings

  6. Conclusion

The Puzzle

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A Theory

  • Increases in overall globalization should increase the probability of media repression.
    • Domestic backlash can threaten incumbent governments.
    • Tactics of media repression are attractive for managing this backlash.
  • However, foreign investors have a stake in transparency, so FDI and FPI should decrease media repression.
  • Unique about international trade is that foreign importers/exporters have no such stake in transparency.
  • Thus, FDI and FPI should correct the repressive tendency while trade enables the continuation of repression.

Research Strategy

A mixed-methods design combining large-N statistical analysis and qualitative process-tracing.

  • State-level statistical analysis of a large panel of countries from 1970 to 2003 (Sorens and Ruger 2012; Freedom House; Van Belle 2000).
  • Brief case studies of Argentina and Mexico in the early 1990s.

Quantitative Findings

We can visualize how globalization shapes the expected probability of observing media freedom.

Under the hood of the following slides:

  • Logistic regressions for a binary dependent variable (media freedom).
  • Controlling for:
    • Level of democracy
    • Change in democracy
    • GDP per capita
    • Growth in GDP per capita
    • The other components of globalization