On the Manipulation of Information by Governments

Paper by Ariel Karlinsky and Moses Shayo: “Governmental information manipulation has been hard to measure and study systematically. We hand-collect data from official and unofficial sources in 134 countries to estimate misreporting of Covid mortality during 2020-21. We find that between 45%–55% of governments misreported the number of deaths. The lion’s share of misreporting cannot be attributed to a country’s capacity to accurately diagnose and report deaths. Contrary to some theoretical expectations, there is little evidence of governments exaggerating the severity of the pandemic. Misreporting is higher where governments face few social and institutional constraints, in countries holding elections, and in countries with a communist legacy…(More)”