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

  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl
  • Miguel Garrido

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 reelection, 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 non-causal explanations for our results. Although our findings are statistically imprecise, they demonstrate 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.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 686.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:686
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  1. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  2. 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, 04.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Brian G. Knight & Chun-Fang Chiang, 2008. "Media Bias and Influence: Evidence from Newspaper Endorsements," NBER Working Papers 14445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
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