Brazilian Political Science Review (Oct 2021)

Media Exposure of Portfolios as a Measure of Relevance

  • Pedro Feliú Ribeiro,
  • Luís Henrique Alves Cordeiro Martins

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15, no. 1
pp. 1 – 17


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The distribution of ministerial portfolios in the formation of government coalitions in Brazilian presidentialism is a crucial factor in determining the governability of the political system. Objective measurement of the relevance of ministries to political parties offers a means of shedding light on the relations between the executive and legislative branches of Brazil’s government. This research note aims to improve the empirical measurement of the relevance of Federal ministries in negotiations between presidents and political parties by including a fundamental theoretical aspect to political behavior: the media exposure of the various ministries. Given the importance of the media in shaping the political agenda and public opinion, we have expanded the theoretical conceptualization of the means to effect such measurements by adding a construct of ministerial relevance that is exogenous to the government apparatus. We have made empirical use of concepts such as the relative prestige of the various ministries and the degree of public exposure to them by quantifying the frequency of their appearances on the front pages of the three Brazilian newspapers with the largest readerships. Our results demonstrate the empirical utility and theoretical complementarity of the insertion of a variable relating to media exposure into Batista’s ministerial relevance (2017).