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Media Bias

Author

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  • Sendhil Mullainathan
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

There are two different types of media bias. One bias, which we refer to as ideology, reflects a news outlet's desire to affect reader opinions in a particular direction. The second bias, which we refer to as spin, reflects the outlet's attempt to simply create a memorable story. We examine competition among media outlets in the presence of these biases. Whereas competition can eliminate the effect of ideological bias, it actually exaggerates the incentive to spin stories.

Suggested Citation

  • Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Media Bias," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1981, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1981
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    File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2002/HIER1981.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    2. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-738, August.
    3. Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1990. "Herd Behavior and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 465-479, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Coase, R H, 1974. "The Market for Goods and the Market for Ideas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 384-391, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arnoud W.A. Boot & Anjan V. Thakor, 2003. "Disagreement and Flexibility: A Theory of Optimal Security Issuance and Capital Structure," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-001/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Chan, Jimmy & Suen, Wing, 2009. "Media as watchdogs: The role of news media in electoral competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 799-814, October.
    3. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Khemani, Stuti & Walton, Michael, 2011. "Civil society, public action and accountability in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5733, The World Bank.
    4. 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.
    5. Sendhil Mullainathan & Joshua Schwartzstein & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "Coarse Thinking and Persuasion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 577-619.
    6. Vilella-Vila, Marta & Costa-Font, Joan, 2008. "Press media reporting effects on risk perceptions and attitudes towards genetically modified (GM) food," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 2095-2106, October.
    7. Karel Jan Alsem & Steven Brakman & Lex Hoogduin & Gerard Kuper, 2008. "The impact of newspapers on consumer confidence: does spin bias exist?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 531-539.
    8. Hatzinikolaou, Dimitris, 2010. "How to Turn a Recession into a Depression: The Role of the Media, of the Politicians, and of the Political Analysts," MPRA Paper 45391, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Sep 2010.
    9. Daniel Sutter, 2006. "Media scrutiny and the quality of public officials," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 25-40, October.
    10. Park, Mi Sun & Kleinschmit, Daniela, 2016. "Framing forest conservation in the global media: An interest-based approach," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 7-15.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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