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Seminarios académicos y conferencias

Ruben Durante, Pompeu Fabra

"Media Attention and Strategic Timing in Politics: Evidence from Presidential Executive Orders"

Coautoreado con Milena Djourelova

19 junio 2019 - 15:30 hrs.

Sala de Postgrado, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas UC

Abstract: Are politicians more likely to adopt unpopular policies when the media and the public are distracted by other events? We examine this question by analyzing the timing of the signing of executive orders (EOs) by US presidents over the past four decades. We find robust evidence that EOs are more likely to be signed on the eve of days when the news are dominated by other important stories that can crowd out coverage of EOs. This pattern is driven by EOs that are more likely to attract negative publicity, i.e., on non-routine administrative decisions and on topics on which the president and Congress disagree. Crucially, we find an effect only for periods of divided government when Congress is more likely to criticize unilateral actions. Finally, the timing of EOs appears to be related to predictable news but not to unpredictable ones which suggests it may result from a deliberate and forward-looking PR strategy.