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Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?

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  • Felix Oberholzer-Gee
  • Joel Waldfogel

Abstract

Since the dawn of broadcasting, and especially in the past decade, Americans have turned their attention from local to more distant sources of news and entertainment. While the integration of media markets will raise the private welfare of many consumers, a globalized information and entertainment industry can undermine civic engagement, transforming locally engaged citizens into viewers consuming programming from distant sources. In response to such concerns, many regulatory agencies, including the Federal Communication Commission in the United States, curtail the integration of media markets to promote %u201Clocalism.%u201D Determining the right balance between the private benefits of integrated markets and the public value of civic engagement requires evidence on the size of the positive spillovers from local media. In this paper, we exploit the rapid growth of Hispanic communities in the United States to test whether the presence of local television news affects local civic behavior. We find that Hispanic voter turnout increased by 5 to 10 percentage points, relative to non-Hispanic voter turnout, in markets where local Spanish-language television news became available. Thus, the tradeoff between integrated media markets and civic engagement is real, and our results provide a basis for the continued pursuit of regulatory policies that promote localism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12317.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12317

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Cited by:
  1. Falck, Oliver & Gold, Robert & Heblich, Stephan, 2012. "E-Lections: Voting Behavior and the Internet," IZA Discussion Papers 6545, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Francesco Sobbrio, 2013. "Citizen-Editors' Endogenous Information Acquisition and News Accuracy," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def5, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  3. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3253-85, December.
  4. Francesco Sobbrio, 2012. "A Citizen-Editors Model of News Media," RSCAS Working Papers 2012/61, European University Institute.
  5. Chongwoo Choe & Paul A. Raschky, 2011. "Media, Democracy, and Government Action: Prevention vs. Palliation in the Time of Cholera," ISER Discussion Paper 0812, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  6. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2011. "The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2980-3018, December.
  7. Drago, Francesco & Nannicini, Tommaso & Sobbrio, Francesco, 2013. "Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit," IZA Discussion Papers 7169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Andreas Madestam & David Yanagizawa-Drott, 2011. "Shaping the Nation: Estimating the Impact of Fourth of July Using a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 399, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  9. Chongwoo Choe & Paul A. Raschky, 2011. "Media, Institutions, and Government Action: Prevention vs. Palliation in the Time of Cholera," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 23-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  10. Chiou, Lesley & Tucker, Catherine, 2013. "Paywalls and the demand for news," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 61-69.
  11. Piolatto, A. & Schuett, F., 2013. "Media Competition and Electoral Politics," Discussion Paper 2013-072, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Lu, Xun & White, Halbert, 2014. "Robustness checks and robustness tests in applied economics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 178(P1), pages 194-206.
  13. Stone, Daniel F., 2013. "Media and gridlock," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 94-104.
  14. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of Mass Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 8246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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