IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v121y2006i1p197-227..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Do Ads Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan Reuter
  • Eric Zitzewitz

Abstract

The independence of editorial content from advertisers' influence is a cornerstone of journalistic ethics. We test whether this independence is observed in practice. We find that mutual fund recommendations are correlated with past advertising in three personal finance publications but not in two national newspapers. Our tests control for numerous fund characteristics, total advertising expenditures, and past mentions. While positive mentions significantly increase fund inflows, they do not successfully predict returns. Future returns are similar for the funds we predict would have been mentioned in the absence of bias, suggesting that the cost of advertising bias to readers is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Reuter & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Do Ads Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 197-227.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:1:p:197-227.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/121.1.197
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
    2. David A. Reinstein & Christopher M. Snyder, 2005. "The Influence Of Expert Reviews On Consumer Demand For Experience Goods: A Case Study Of Movie Critics," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 27-51, March.
    3. Desai, Hemang & Jain, Prem C, 1995. "An Analysis of the Recommendations of the "Superstar" Money Managers at Barron's Annual Roundtable," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1257-1273, September.
    4. Ippolito, Richard A, 1992. "Consumer Reaction to Measures of Poor Quality: Evidence from the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 45-70, April.
    5. Barber, Brad M. & Loeffler, Douglas, 1993. "The “Dartboard†Column: Second-Hand Information and Price Pressure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 273-284, June.
    6. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
    7. Baron, David P., 2003. "Competing for the Public through the News Media," Research Papers 1808, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    8. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Are Some Mutual Fund Managers Better Than Others? Cross‐Sectional Patterns in Behavior and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 875-899, June.
    9. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. "On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    10. Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
    11. Erik R. Sirri & Peter Tufano, 1998. "Costly Search and Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1589-1622, October.
    12. Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2004. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1269-1295, December.
    13. Blake, Christopher R. & Morey, Matthew R., 2000. "Morningstar Ratings and Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 451-483, September.
    14. Alexander Dyck & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "The Corporate Governance Role of the Media," NBER Working Papers 9309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
    16. Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and Its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 67-99, March.
    17. repec:fth:prinin:455 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    19. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    20. Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005. "A Measure of Media Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1191-1237.
    21. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    22. Guercio, Diane Del & Tkac, Paula A., 2008. "Star Power: The Effect of Monrningstar Ratings on Mutual Fund Flow," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 907-936, December.
    23. Reuter, Jonathan, 2009. "Does Advertising Bias Product Reviews? An Analysis of Wine Ratings," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 125-151, January.
    24. Michaely, Roni & Womack, Kent L, 1999. "Conflict of Interest and the Credibility of Underwriter Analyst Recommendations," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 653-686.
    25. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Working Papers 834, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    26. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-636, May-June.
    27. Lisa George & Joel Waldfogel, 2003. "Who Affects Whom in Daily Newspaper Markets?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 765-784, August.
    28. Prem C. Jain & Joanna Shuang Wu, 2000. "Truth in Mutual Fund Advertising: Evidence on Future Performance and Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 937-958, April.
    29. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Cuthbertson, Keith & Nitzsche, Dirk & O'Sullivan, Niall, 2016. "A review of behavioural and management effects in mutual fund performance," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 162-176.
    2. Florian Röder & Andreas Walter, 2019. "What Drives Investment Flows Into Social Trading Portfolios?," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 383-411, July.
    3. Ruiz-Verdú, Pablo & Gil-Bazo, Javier, 2006. "Yet another puzzle? the relation between price and performance in the mutual fund industry," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb066519, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
    4. Nanda, Vikram K. & Wang, Z. Jay & Zheng, Lu, 2009. "The ABCs of mutual funds: On the introduction of multiple share classes," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 329-361, July.
    5. Martin Rohleder & Dominik Schulte & Marco Wilkens, 2017. "Management of flow risk in mutual funds," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 31-56, January.
    6. Lan, Chunhua & Moneta, Fabio & Wermers, Russ, 2018. "Holding Horizon: A New Measure of Active Investment Management," CFR Working Papers 15-06, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    7. Goriaev, Alexei & Nijman, Theo E. & Werker, Bas J.M., 2008. "Performance information dissemination in the mutual fund industry," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 144-159, May.
    8. Clemens Sialm & T. Mandy Tham, 2016. "Spillover Effects in Mutual Fund Companies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(5), pages 1472-1486, May.
    9. Iannotta, Giuliano & Navone, Marco, 2012. "The cross-section of mutual fund fee dispersion," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 846-856.
    10. Casavecchia, Lorenzo & Tiwari, Ashish, 2016. "Cross trading by investment advisers: Implications for mutual fund performance," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 99-130.
    11. Blake, David & Caulfield, Tristan & Ioannidis, Christos & Tonks, Ian, 2014. "Improved inference in the evaluation of mutual fund performance using panel bootstrap methods," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 183(2), pages 202-210.
    12. Clemens Sialm & Laura T. Starks & Hanjiang Zhang, 2015. "Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Sticky or Discerning Money?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(2), pages 805-838, April.
    13. Anthony Tay & Jacques Olivier, 2008. "Time-Varying Incentives in the Mutual Fund Industry," Working Papers 10-2008, Singapore Management University, School of Economics, revised Jun 2008.
    14. Coval, Joshua & Stafford, Erik, 2007. "Asset fire sales (and purchases) in equity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 479-512, November.
    15. Robert W. Faff & Jerry T. Parwada & Hun‐Lune Poh, 2007. "The Information Content of Australian Managed Fund Ratings," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(9‐10), pages 1528-1547, November.
    16. Gallaher, Steven & Kaniel, Ron & Starks, Laura T, 2015. "Advertising and Mutual Funds: From Families to Individual Funds," CEPR Discussion Papers 10329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Yu, Hsin-Yi, 2012. "Where are the smart investors? New evidence of the smart money effect," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 51-64.
    18. Martin Rohleder, 2015. "The Relation between Past Flows and Future Performance: Simple Investment Strategies in the Mutual Fund Sector," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-28, February.
    19. Dahm, Laura K. & Sorhage, Christoph, 2015. "Milk or wine: Mutual funds' (dis)economies of life," CFR Working Papers 15-05, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    20. Massa, Massimo & Reuter, Jonathan & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2010. "When should firms share credit with employees? Evidence from anonymously managed mutual funds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 400-424, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:1:p:197-227.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Oxford University Press to update the entry or send us the correct email address or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.