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Discrimination as a Competitive Device: The Case of Local Television News

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  • Caitlin Knowles Myers

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Abstract

Local news offers a unique look not only at customer preferences but also at the strategic response of firms to these preferences. This paper uses a combination of ratings data and newly gathered information on television stations in 25 U.S. markets to examine the decisions of competing firms and how customers respond to the journalists who appear onair at the different stations in a market. The results indicate that there is a negative correlation between the racial, gender, and age composition of competing firms. Moreover, the ratings data suggest that the stations with relatively few blacks on-air are catering to the more discriminatory customers. While a similar result is found for age and gender, the reverse holds for other groups, suggesting possible tastes for diversity for Hispanics and Asians. Taken as a whole, the evidence supports a theoretical model in which firms differentiate via the characteristics of their employees in response to customer prejudice.

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0526.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0526.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0526

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Keywords: economics of gender and minorities; customer discrimination; product differentiation; Nielsen ratings;

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  1. Gwartney, James & Haworth, Charles, 1974. "Employer Costs and Discrimination: The Case of Baseball," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 873-81, July/Aug..
  2. Kate Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2009. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 163-177, February.
  3. Harry J. Holzer & Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, 1998. "Customer Discrimination And Employment Outcomes For Minority Workers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 835-867, August.
  4. Aldrich Eric M & Arcidiacono Peter S. & Vigdor Jacob L, 2005. "Do People Value Racial Diversity? Evidence from Nielsen Ratings," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, February.
  5. Kanazawa, Mark T & Funk, Jonas P, 2001. "Racial Discrimination in Professional Basketball: Evidence from Nielsen Ratings," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 599-608, October.
  6. Eric Stone & Ronald Warren, 1999. "Customer discrimination in professional basketball: evidence from the trading-card market," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 679-685.
  7. Paul M. Sommers & Noel Quinton, 1982. "Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball: The Case of the First Family of Free Agents," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 426-436.
  8. Nardinelli, Clark & Simon, Curtis, 1990. "Customer Racial Discrimination in the Market for Memorabilia: The Case of Baseball," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 575-95, August.
  9. Kahn, Lawrence M & Sherer, Peter D, 1988. "Racial Differences in Professional Basketball Players' Compensation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 40-61, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Matthew Parrett, 2011. "Customer Discrimination in Restaurants: Dining Frequency Matters," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 87-112, June.
  2. Friebel, Guido & Heinz, Matthias, 2012. "Media Slant Against Foreign Owners: Downsizing," IZA Discussion Papers 6859, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, 01.

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