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Understanding the Internet's Relevance to Media Ownership Policy: A Model of Too Many Choices


  • Nagler Matthew G.

    () (Lehman College, City University of New York)


Does the Internet provide a failsafe against media consolidation in the wake of an easing of media ownership rules? This paper posits a model of news outlet selection on the Internet in which consumers experience cognitive costs that increase with the number of options faced. Consistent with psychological evidence, these costs may be reduced by constraining one's choice set to "safe bets" familiar from offline (e.g., It is shown that, as the number of outlets grows, dispersion of patronage across outlets inevitably declines. Consequently, independent Internet outlets may fail to mitigate lost outlet independence on other media.

Suggested Citation

  • Nagler Matthew G., 2007. "Understanding the Internet's Relevance to Media Ownership Policy: A Model of Too Many Choices," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-28, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:7:y:2007:i:1:n:29

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nagler, Matthew G., 2015. "Trading off the benefits and costs of choice: Evidence from Australian elections," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Jimmy Chan & Daniel Stone, 2013. "Media proliferation and partisan selective exposure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 467-490, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory


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