Information, Markets and Conflict : Essays on Development and Political Economics
Sammanfattning: The thesis consists of four essays.The first essay, “The Strategic Determinants of U.S. Human Rights Reporting: Evidence from the Cold War”, uses a country-level panel dataset to test the hypothesis that the United States biases its human rights reports of countries based on the strategic value of these countries. The results show that allying with the U.S. during the Cold War significantly improves reports on a country's human rights situation from the U.S. State Department relative to Amnesty International.The second essay, “Watchdog or Lapdog? Media and the U.S. Government during the Cold War”, builds on the first and investigates the extent to which strategic objectives of the U.S. government influenced news coverage during the Cold War. Two relationships are established: 1) strategic objectives of the U.S. government cause the State Department to under-report human rights violations of allies; and 2) these objectives reduce the news coverage of human rights abuses for allies in six U.S. national newspapers.The third essay, “Propaganda and Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Rwandan Genocide”, investigates the impact of the infamous "hate radio" station Radio RTLM on participation in the Rwandan Genocide. The results show that Radio RTLM substantially increased participation. Complete radio coverage in a village increased participation by 65 to 77 percent, and a simple counter-factual calculation suggests that approximately 9 percent of the genocide, corresponding to at least 45 000 Tutsi deaths, can be explained by the radio station.The fourth essay, “Tuning in the Market Signal: The Impact of Price Information on Market Exchange in Uganda”, estimates the impact of access to market price information on agricultural market outcomes. By exploiting a natural experiment in Uganda, the results show that access to price information causes rural farmers to sell larger shares of their output and receive higher farm-gate prices, while decreasing the market price in urban markets. Together, the results indicate that the price information reduced market failures by alleviating frictions between farmers and traders.
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