Advertising Spending and Media Bias: Evidence from News Coverage of Car Safety Recalls

54 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017

See all articles by Graham Beattie

Graham Beattie

University of Pittsburgh

Ruben Durante

Sciences Po

Brian G. Knight

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ananya Sen

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 9, 2017

Abstract

Do news media bias content in favor of advertisers? We examine the relationship between advertising by auto manufacturers in U.S. newspapers and news coverage of car safety recalls. This context allows us to separate the influence of advertisers, who prefer less coverage, from that of readers, who demand more. Consistent with theoretical predictions, we find that newspapers provide less coverage of recalls by their advertisers, especially the more severe ones. Competition for readers from other newspapers mitigates bias, while competition for advertising by online platforms exacerbates it. Finally, we present suggestive evidence that lower coverage increases auto fatalities.

Keywords: Media Bias, Advertising, Newspapers, Car Manufacturers, Safety Recalls

JEL Classification: L10, L82, M21, M37

Suggested Citation

Beattie, Graham and Durante, Ruben and Knight, Brian G. and Sen, Ananya, Advertising Spending and Media Bias: Evidence from News Coverage of Car Safety Recalls (October 9, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3049891 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3049891

Graham Beattie

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Ruben Durante

Sciences Po ( email )

28 rue des Saints-Peres
Paris, 75011
France
+33145497264 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rubendurante.com

Brian G. Knight

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ananya Sen (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

4800 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA Pittsburgh 15213-3890
United States

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