Political Determinants of the News Market: Novel Data and Quasi-Experimental Evidence from India

66 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2023 Last revised: 13 Oct 2023

See all articles by Julia Cage

Julia Cage

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Guilhem Cassan

University of Namur

Francesca R. Jensenius

NUPI - Norwegian Institute for International Affairs; University of Oslo

Date Written: February 16, 2023

Abstract

Information conveyed through news media influences political behavior. But to what extent are media markets themselves shaped by political determinants? We build a novel panel dataset of newspaper markets in India from 2002 to 2017 to measure the impact of changes in electoral importance on how news markets develop over time. We exploit the announcement of an exogenous change in the boundaries of electoral constituencies to causally identify the relationship between the (future) electoral importance of news markets and the change in the number and circulation of newspapers. Using both an event-study and a staggered difference-in-differences approach, we show that markets that became more electorally important experienced a significant rise in both circulation and the number of titles per capita. Both supply and demand seem to drive the increase, but we estimate that the former explains almost all the variation in the short run and around 50% in the long run. Finally, we document how effects vary with prior levels of political competition and newspapers’ characteristics, and discuss implications for voting behavior and democratic accountability.

Keywords: Newspapers, Media, India, Malapportionment, Redistricting

JEL Classification: L82, D72

Suggested Citation

Cage, Julia and Cassan, Guilhem and Jensenius, Francesca R. and Jensenius, Francesca R., Political Determinants of the News Market: Novel Data and Quasi-Experimental Evidence from India (February 16, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4364254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4364254

Julia Cage (Contact Author)

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics ( email )

28 Rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, 75007
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Guilhem Cassan

University of Namur ( email )

No Address Available

Francesca R. Jensenius

University of Oslo ( email )

Moltke Moesvei 31
Blindern
Olso, Oslo 0851
Norway

NUPI - Norwegian Institute for International Affairs ( email )

Oslo
Norway

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