Green Dies in Darkness? Environmental Externalities of Newspaper Closures
48 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2021 Last revised: 11 Aug 2021
Date Written: February 4, 2021
We examine whether and how newspaper coverage affects firms' toxic emissions. Studying this question helps us understand the ecosystem of regulation by revelation, an increasingly popular environmental policy approach. Using local newspaper closures as an exogenous shock to news coverage, we find that plants located in newspaper closure counties increase toxic emissions by 10 to 19 percent compared to plants of the same firm located in other counties. This effect is not driven by different environmental policies among firms or different economic conditions among counties. Instead, the increase in toxic emissions comes from less effective chemical use during production instead of higher productions. Moreover, the effect is amplified in areas with fewer newspapers before a newspaper closure, where residents care more about environmental issues, and with a low increase in online media presence. Our results suggest that regulation by revelation will become less effective as the newspaper industry's decline continues.
Keywords: Pollution; Media; Newspaper; Regulation by Revelation; TRI;
JEL Classification: G30, L82, Q52, Q53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation