New research provides a partial answer to that long-standing question: isolated capitals breed more corruption and lack of news coverage is a major reason why, reports David Lauter of the Los Angelas Times.
Filipe R. Campante of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Quoc-Anh Do of Singapore Management University looked at a different factor – isolation.
What might cause the relationship between isolation and corruption, the researchers asked. One possibility was that newspapers, which provide most coverage of state governments, may be less likely to cover the capital when it is further from their circulation areas. So they examined the content of 436 U.S. newspapers, searching for references to state government. Sure enough, “in states where the population is more concentrated around the capital,” the study found “more intense media coverage of state politics, and therefore greater accountability.
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