Feeding the Mind and Body
President Mugabe’s stranglehold on the press all but collapsed yesterday when a newly constituted independent media commission announced that it had formally licenced six new newspapers, four of them dailies, to publish in Zimbabwe.
Excellent news - especially for the hungry because we know -
A 1 percent increase in newspaper circulation is associated with a 2.4 percent increase in public food distribution and a 5.5 percent increase in calamity relief expenditures. Greater political competition is associated with higher levels of public food distribution. Public food distribution is also higher in election and pre-election years. In addition, government is also more responsive to a given shock when newspaper circulation is higher. That is, when food production falls or flood damage occurs governments increase food distribution and calamity relief more in states where newspaper circulation is higher.