Ruben Durante, 06 August 2021

Remember when your local newspaper was filled with classified advertising? Once, three-line ads for lonely hearts and used cars for sale were a guaranteed source of revenue. Then Craigslist replaced classifieds in the US, and the result, Ruben Durante tells Tim Phillips, has been less political reporting and more partisan polarisation.

You can download and read the underlying research, Djourelova, M, R Durante and G Martin (2021), “The impact of online competition on local newspapers: Evidence from the introduction of Craigslist”, CEPR Discussion Paper 16130 , here

Milena Djourelova, Ruben Durante, Gregory J. Martin, 25 July 2021

Newspapers advertising revenues have declined steadily over the past decades due to competition from online platforms. But what are the implications of this trend for the organisation and content of newspapers and for information local readers are exposed to? To shed light on these questions this column looks at the staggered introduction of Craigslist – the world’s largest platform for classified ads – in the US. It finds that the entry of Craigslist in a market led to considerable staff cuts by local newspapers, a decline in news coverage of politics, and a drop in readership. These changes also had electoral consequences, favouring partisan voting and ideologically extreme candidates.

Charles Angelucci, Julia Cagé, Michael Sinkinson, 21 May 2021

Local journalism is disappearing in the US, with a quarter of all newspapers shut down in the past 15 years. Using the case of television expansion in the mid-20th century US, this column investigates how a more competitive national news market affects local news provision and, in turn, voting behaviour. After the entry of television, circulation for local newspapers and the total number of original local news stories published decreased. Because of television’s more national focus, this points to a strong shift towards more national news diets. Crowding out of local information led to less split-ticket voting, implying the nationalisation of local politics.

Saskia ter Ellen, Vegard H. Larsen, Leif Anders Thorsrud, 08 December 2020

Though the transmission channels of central bank communication to financial institutions are well researched, less is known about how they relay information to the public at large. This column shows how central bank communication indirectly reaches the general public by affecting news media coverage on topics of particular relevance for monetary policy decisions. The findings suggest that the media, and how it acts as an information intermediary, can have a sizeable effect on economic outcomes.

Jean-Pierre Dube, Andrey Simonov, Szymon Sacher, Shirsho Biswas, 06 July 2020

US televised news networks offer strikingly different coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the exposure risks, and the benefits of social distancing measures recommended by health experts. This column devises an empirical strategy to test for a causal effect of news viewership on compliance with social distancing. It finds a large effect of local Fox News viewership on local compliance, with a persuasion rate of up to 26%. These findings reinforce concerns about the media’s role in sowing distrust in scientific evidence in the determination of public policies.  

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