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Media bias in financial newspapers: evidence from early twentieth-century France




The financial market was well developed in France in the years before World War I, and there were many newspapers that provided information to investors. Yet commentators at the time faulted the financial press for inaccuracy and biases, which they linked to the existence of payments made by companies for coverage in the editorial section. This article tests whether the payment scheme induced a systematic bias in the coverage of companies listed on the Paris stock exchanges by newspapers. The results show that, although firms' media coverage was affected, the performance of firms actually touted by the press was good. Thus, the media bias can also be explained by newspapers choosing the companies' exposures according to their editorial policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Bignon, Vincent & Miscio, Antonio, 2010. "Media bias in financial newspapers: evidence from early twentieth-century France," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(03), pages 383-432, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:14:y:2010:i:03:p:383-432_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Banerjee, Anindya & Dolado, Juan J. & Galbraith, John W. & Hendry, David, 1993. "Co-integration, Error Correction, and the Econometric Analysis of Non-Stationary Data," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288107, June.
    2. Irwin, Douglas A, 1988. "Welfare Effects of British Free Trade: Debate and Evidence from the 1840s," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1142-1164, December.
    3. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Campbell, Gareth & Turner, John D. & Walker, Clive B., 2012. "The role of the media in a bubble," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 461-481.
    2. Bakker, Gerben, 2014. "How they made news pay: news traders’ quest for crisis-resistant business models," Economic History Working Papers 59304, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    3. Gambaro, Marco & Puglisi, Riccardo, 2015. "What do ads buy? Daily coverage of listed companies on the Italian press," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 41-57.
    4. Balmer, Roberto, 2013. "Entry and Competition in Local Newspaper Retail Markets - When two are enough," MPRA Paper 54079, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Hanna, Alan J. & Turner, John D. & Walker, Clive B., 2017. "News media and investor sentiment over the long run," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-06, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    6. Bignon, Vincent & Flandreau, Marc, 2011. "The Economics of Badmouthing: Libel Law and the Underworld of the Financial Press in France Before World War I," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 616-653, September.
    7. Vincent Bignon & Marc Flandreau, 2012. "The Price of Media Capture and the Looting of Newspapers in Interwar France," IHEID Working Papers 09-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    8. Turner, John D. & Ye, Qing & Walker, Clive B., 2016. "Media coverage and stock returns on the London Stock Exchange, 1825-70," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2016-02, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913


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