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Do newspapers matter? Short-run and long-run evidence from the closure of The Cincinnati Post

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  • Miguel Garrido
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

The Cincinnati Post published its last edition on New Year’s Eve 2007, leaving the Cincinnati Enquirer as the only daily newspaper in the market. The next year, fewer candidates ran for municipal office in the Kentucky suburbs most reliant on the Post, incumbents became more likely to win re-election, and voter turnout and campaign spending fell. These changes happened even though the Enquirer at least temporarily increased its coverage of the Post’s former strongholds. Voter turnout remained depressed through 2010, nearly three years after the Post closed, but the other effects diminished with time. We exploit a difference-in-differences strategy and the fact that the Post’s closing date was fixed 30 years in advance to rule out some noncausal explanations for our results. Although our findings are statistically imprecise, they suggest that newspapers—even underdogs such as the Post, which had a circulation of just 27,000 when it closed—can have a substantial and measurable impact on public life.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Garrido & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Do newspapers matter? Short-run and long-run evidence from the closure of The Cincinnati Post," Staff Report 474, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:474
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan S. Gerber & Dean Karlan & Daniel Bergan, 2009. "Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, April.
    2. Lisa M. George & Joel Waldfogel, 2006. "The New York Times and the Market for Local Newspapers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 435-447, March.
    3. Prat, Andrea & Strömberg, David, 2005. "Commercial Television and Voter Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 4989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Chun-Fang Chiang & Brian Knight, 2011. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 795-820.
    5. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
    6. James M. Snyder & David Strömberg, 2010. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 355-408, April.
    7. Oberholzer-Gee, Felix & Waldfogel, Joel, 2005. "Strength in Numbers: Group Size and Political Mobilization," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 73-91, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ying Fan, 2013. "Ownership Consolidation and Product Characteristics: A Study of the US Daily Newspaper Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1598-1628, August.
    2. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2011. "The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2980-3018, December.
    3. Julia Cage, 2014. "Media Competition, Information Provision and Political Participation," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/16juu6v6rg8, Sciences Po.
    4. Francesco Drago & Tommaso Nannicini & Francesco Sobbrio, 2014. "Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 159-188, July.
    5. Martin Johnson & Kirby Goidel & Michael Climek, 2014. "The Decline of Daily Newspapers and the Third-Person Effect," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1245-1258, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Newspapers;

    JEL classification:

    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • N82 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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