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

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent Bignon & Marc Flandreau, 2012. "The Price of Media Capture and the Looting of Newspapers in Interwar France," IHEID Working Papers 09-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp09-2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Alexander Dyck & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "Private Benefits of Control: An International Comparison," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 537-600, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Bignon, Vincent & Flandreau, Marc, 2011. "The Economics of Badmouthing: Libel Law and the Underworld of the Financial Press in France Before World War I," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 616-653, September.
    5. John Mcmillan & Pablo Zoido, 2004. "How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 69-92, Fall.
    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 125-148.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    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.
    10. Baron, David P., 2006. "Persistent media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 1-36, January.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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 127-155, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bakker, Gerben, 2014. "How they made news pay: news traders’ quest for crisis-resistant business models," Economic History Working Papers 59304, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. P.Antipa, 2014. "How Fiscal Policy Affects the Price Level: Britain’s First Experience with Paper Money," Working papers 525, Banque de France.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Media; governance; minority shareholders; control premium; corruption; Interwar; France;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-

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