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Media Attention and Strategic Timing in Politics

On October 23, 2019, ICREA Research Professor Ruben Durante will deliver a public seminar. The paper can be found from the following URL.


Do politicians tend 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 U.S. 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. Crucially, this relationship only holds in periods of divided government when unilateral presidential actions are more likely to be criticized by a hostile Congress. The effect is driven by EOs that are more likely to make the news and to attract negative publicity, particularly those on topics on which president and Congress disagree. Finally, the timing of EOs appears to be related to predictable news but not to unpredictable ones, which suggests it results from a deliberate and forward-looking PR strategy.

Professor Ruben Durante’s paper:

Event information

Speaker: ICREA Research Professor Ruben Durante (Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra & Barcelona GSE, IPEG, and CEPR)
Title: Media Attention and Strategic Timing in Politics: Evidence from U.S. Presidential Executive Orders
Date and Time: October 23 (Wed), 2019 from 13:00-14:30
Venue: 1st Conference Room, 10th floor, Building 3, Waseda Campus, Waseda University
Language: English
Open to members of Waseda University and the general public
Registration not required
Organizers: Satoru Shimoka ([email protected])  and Michiko Ueda ([email protected])
Sponsored by the Center for Empirical Analysis of Political Economy, Top Global University Project, Waseda University

  • 1023



1st Conference Room, 10th floor, Building 3, Waseda University


Fri, 18 Oct 2019

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