IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jpolec/v114y2006i2p280-316.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Media Bias and Reputation

Author

Listed:
  • Matthew Gentzkow
  • Jesse M. Shapiro

Abstract

A Bayesian consumer who is uncertain about the quality of an information source will infer that the source is of higher quality when its reports conform to the consumer's prior expectations. We use this fact to build a model of media bias in which firms slant their reports toward the prior beliefs of their customers in order to build a reputation for quality. Bias emerges in our model even though it can make all market participants worse off. The model predicts that bias will be less severe when consumers receive independent evidence on the true state of the world and that competition between independently owned news outlets can reduce bias. We present a variety of empirical evidence consistent with these predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:114:y:2006:i:2:p:280-316
    DOI: 10.1086/499414
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/499414
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1086/499414?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    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. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2006. "Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number glae06-1, June.
    3. Baron, David P., 2004. "Persistent Media Bias," Research Papers 1845r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. Ely, Jeffrey & Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 2008. "When is reputation bad?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 498-526, July.
    5. Boulier, Bryan L. & Stekler, H. O., 2003. "Predicting the outcomes of National Football League games," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 257-270.
    6. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
    7. Adam Brandenburger & Ben Polak, 1996. "When Managers Cover Their Posteriors: Making the Decisions the Market Wants to See," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 523-541, Autumn.
    8. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
    9. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
    10. Djankov, Simeon & McLiesh, Caralee & Nenova, Tatiana & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "Who Owns the Media?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 341-381, October.
    11. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter Norman, 2006. "Professional advice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 120-142, January.
    12. Olszewski, Wojciech, 2004. "Informal communication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 180-200, August.
    13. Effinger, Matthias R. & Polborn, Mattias K., 2001. "Herding and anti-herding: A model of reputational differentiation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 385-403, March.
    14. Morris, Stephen, 1994. "Trade with Heterogeneous Prior Beliefs and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1327-1347, November.
    15. Grant, Simon & Kajii, Atsushi & Polak, Ben, 1998. "Intrinsic Preference for Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 233-259, December.
    16. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
    17. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
    18. Michael Firth & Michael Gift, 1999. "An international comparison of analysis' earnings forecast accuracy," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 5(1), pages 56-64, February.
    19. Matthew Gentzkow & Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Rise of the Fourth Estate. How Newspapers Became Informative and Why It Mattered," NBER Chapters, in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 187-230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Heidhues, Paul & Lagerlof, Johan, 2003. "Hiding information in electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 48-74, January.
    21. Edward L. Glaeser, 2004. "Psychology and the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 408-413, May.
    22. Wing Suen, 2004. "The Self-Perpetuation of Biased Beliefs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 377-396, April.
    23. Morris, Stephen, 1995. "The Common Prior Assumption in Economic Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 227-253, October.
    24. Terence Lim, 2001. "Rationality and Analysts' Forecast Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 369-385, February.
    25. Avery, Christopher & Chevalier, Judith, 1999. "Identifying Investor Sentiment from Price Paths: The Case of Football Betting," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(4), pages 493-521, October.
    26. Prendergast, Canice, 1993. "A Theory of "Yes Men."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 757-770, September.
    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. Li, Ming & Tymofiy Mylovanov, 2009. "Credibility for Sale: the Effect of Disclosure on Information Acquisition and Transmission," Working Papers 09008, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2009.
    2. Ruben Durante & Brian Knight, 2012. "Partisan Control, Media Bias, And Viewer Responses: Evidence From Berlusconi'S Italy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 451-481, May.
    3. Elena Panova, 2009. "Confirmatory News," Cahiers de recherche 0912, CIRPEE.
    4. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2008. "Competition and Truth in the Market for News," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 133-154, Spring.
    5. Petrova, Maria, 2011. "Newspapers and Parties: How Advertising Revenues Created an Independent Press," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 790-808, November.
    6. Junghun Cho, 2006. "Multiple Advisors with Reputation," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp314, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    7. Olszewski, Wojciech, 2004. "Informal communication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 180-200, August.
    8. Andina-Díaz, Ascensión & García-Martínez, José A., 2020. "Reputation and news suppression in the media industry," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 240-271.
    9. Ascensión Andina-Díaz, 2015. "Competition and uncertainty in a paper’s news desk," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 77-93, September.
    10. Shapiro, Jesse M., 2016. "Special interests and the media: Theory and an application to climate change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 91-108.
    11. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Välimäki, 2003. "Bad Reputation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 785-814.
    12. Di Gioacchino, Debora & Verashchagina, Alina, 2020. "Mass media and preferences for redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    13. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2005. "Commercial Television and Voter Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. S. Guriev & G. Egorov & K. Sonin., 2007. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    15. Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 862-877, June.
    16. Corneo, Giacomo, 2006. "Media capture in a democracy: The role of wealth concentration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 37-58, January.
    17. Xiaojing Meng, 2015. "Analyst Reputation, Communication, and Information Acquisition," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 119-173, March.
    18. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
    19. Rafael Di Tella & Ignacio Franceschelli, 2011. "Government Advertising and Media Coverage of Corruption Scandals," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-151, October.
    20. Blasco, Andrea & Sobbrio, Francesco, 2012. "Competition and commercial media bias," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 434-447.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Media Bias and Reputation (JPE 2006) in ReplicationWiki

    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:ucp:jpolec:v:114:y:2006:i:2:p:280-316. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Journals Division (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE .

    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.