Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2452-0063
  • E-ISSN: 2452-0071
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Why do politicians react to some stories in the news and ignore others? We attempt to answer this question by integrating the micro-level politician perspective with a macro-level country approach. Using a unique experimental approach, we test when politicians in the Netherlands and Switzerland ( = 80) take political action based on a (fictional) news report. We find that all politicians react more to negative coverage, but not if the information is merely presented as investigative reporting. Results also reveal a systematic variation that we ascribe to two key differences in the electoral systems. In The Netherlands, with its large single voting district, politicians react to news reports covering issues they are specialized in. In Switzerland, where between-party competition is more important, politicians are more likely to capitalize on the party’s profile. Overall, this study shows when and how politicians react to news coverage also depends on the institutional context.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): comparative; experimental; media effects; political agenda-setting; political elites
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