NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Michael Sinkinson

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

Working Papers

July 2012Competition and Ideological Diversity: Historical Evidence from US Newspapers
with Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse M. Shapiro: w18234
We study the competitive forces that shaped ideological diversity in the US press in the early twentieth century. We find that households preferred like-minded news and that newspapers used their political orientation to differentiate from competitors. We formulate a model of newspaper demand, entry, and political affiliation choice in which newspapers compete for both readers and advertisers. We use a combination of estimation and calibration to identify the model’s parameters from novel data on newspaper circulation, costs, and revenues. The estimated model implies that competition enhances ideological diversity, that the market undersupplies diversity, and that optimal competition policy requires accounting for the two-sidedness of the news market.
June 2012Do Newspapers Serve the State? Incumbent Party Influence on the US Press, 1869-1928
with Matthew Gentzkow, Nathan Petek, Jesse M. Shapiro: w18164
Using data from 1869 to 1928, we estimate the effect of party control of state governments on the entry, exit, circulation, prices, quality, and content of Republican and Democratic daily newspapers. We exploit changes over time in party control of the governorship and state legislatures in a differences-indifferences design. We exploit close gubernatorial elections and state legislatures with small majorities in a parallel regression-discontinuity design. Neither method reveals evidence that the party in power affects the partisan composition of the press. Our confidence intervals rule out modest effects, and we find little evidence of incumbent party influence even in times and places with high political stakes or low commercial stakes. The one exception is the Reconstruction South, an e...
November 2009The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics
with Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse M. Shapiro: w15544
We use new data on entries and exits of US daily newspapers from 1869 to 2004 to estimate effects on political participation, party vote shares, and electoral competitiveness. Our identification strategy exploits the precise timing of these events and allows for the possibility of confounding trends. We find that newspapers have a robust positive effect on political participation, with one additional newspaper increasing both presidential and congressional turnout by approximately 0.3 percentage points. Newspaper competition is not a key driver of turnout: our effect is driven mainly by the first newspaper in a market, and the effect of a second or third paper is significantly smaller. The effect on presidential turnout diminishes after the introduction of radio and television, while the e...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll publicationsWorking Papers only

 
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