Competition and Ideological Diversity: Historical Evidence from US Newspapers
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.
We are grateful to Alan Bester, Ambarish Chandra, Tim Conley, Christian Hansen, Igal Hendel, Caroline Hoxby, Jon Levin, Kevin Murphy, Andrei Shleifer, E. Glen Weyl, and numerous seminar participants for advice and suggestions, and to our dedicated research assistants for important contributions to this project. This research was funded in part by the Initiative on Global Markets, the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Centel Foundation/Robert P. Reuss Faculty Research Fund, the Neubauer Family Foundation and the Kathryn C. Gould Research Fund, all at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the National Science Foundation. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- [In the 1920s] a 10 percentage point increase in the fraction of Republicans in a market also is correlated with a 23 percentage point...
Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2014. "Competition and Ideological Diversity: Historical Evidence from US Newspapers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3073-3114, October. citation courtesy of