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The Price of Media Capture and the Looting of Newspapers in Interwar France

  • Bignon, Vincent
  • Flandreau, Marc

This paper develops a new insight enabling the empirical study of media capture: minority shareholders of newspapers and readers face similar risks. Both are adversely affected when corrupt insiders use the newspaper for personal profit and receive invisible revenues. This means that relevant data on influence and exploitation of newspaper has been hiding in plain sight in stock exchange or over-the-counter prices, since stock transactions reflect the value of this capture. Empirical data is consistent with increasing levels of looting in France during the 1930s. We provide a comparison with Britain and argue that Britain managed to protect its newspapers better.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9014.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9014
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. McMillan, John & Zoido, Pablo, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Research Papers 1851r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  4. Bovitz, Gregory L & Druckman, James N & Lupia, Arthur, 2002. " When Can a News Organization Lead Public Opinion? Ideology versus Market Forces in Decisions to Make News," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 127-55, October.
  5. Alexander Dyck & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "Private Benefits of Control: An International Comparison," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 537-600, 04.
  6. Zingales, Luigi, 1994. "The Value of the Voting Right: A Study of the Milan Stock Exchange Experience," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 125-48.
  7. Vincent Bignon, Marc Flandreau, 2010. "The Economics of Badmouthing: Libel Law and the Underworld of the Financial Press in France before World War I," IHEID Working Papers 15-2010, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  8. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
  9. Leslie Hannah, 2007. "The 'Divorce' of ownership from control from 1900 onwards: Re-calibrating imagined global trends," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(4), pages 404-438.
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