The Market for News

30 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2004

See all articles by Sendhil Mullainathan

Sendhil Mullainathan

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

Andrei Shleifer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: December 30, 2003

Abstract

We investigate the market for news under two assumptions: that readers hold beliefs that they like to see confirmed, and that newspapers can slant stories toward these beliefs. We show that, on the topics where readers share common beliefs, one should not expect accuracy even from competitive media: competition results in lower prices, but common slanting toward reader biases. However, on topics where reader beliefs diverge (such as politically divisive issues), newspapers segment the market and slant toward the biases of their own audiences, yet in the aggregate a conscientious reader could get an unbiased perspective. Generally speaking, reader heterogeneity is more important for accuracy in media than competition per se.

JEL Classification: D23, L82

Suggested Citation

Mullainathan, Sendhil and Shleifer, Andrei, The Market for News (December 30, 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=485724 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.485724

Sendhil Mullainathan

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2720 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Andrei Shleifer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5046 (Phone)
617-496-1708 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/~ashleife/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

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