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Speaking in tongues, a text analysis of economic opinion at Newsweek, 1975-2007


  • Tiago Mata
  • Claire Lemercier


Among American news magazines Newsweek holds the distinction of having hosted some of the most authoritative interpretation of economic events. Its cast of columnists included two of the most acclaimed academic economists and some of the most widely read business journalists of the late twentieth century. The purpose of this paper is to examine their writings as examples of “economic journalism”. We used statistical methods to study word co-occurrences and identify vocabulary classes for bodies of texts for 1975-1990 and 1991-2007. We are thus able to distinguish two domains of discourse: political economy and the causal economy. We find traces of changes in economic discourse resulting from the end of the Cold War as well as point out differences in the language of academics and journalists.

Suggested Citation

  • Tiago Mata & Claire Lemercier, 2011. "Speaking in tongues, a text analysis of economic opinion at Newsweek, 1975-2007," Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series 2011-02, Center for the History of Political Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hec:heccee:2011-2

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    Cited by:

    1. Heredia, Mariana & Daniel, Claudia, 2019. "The taming of prices: Framing and fighting inflation in the second half of the twentieth century in Argentina," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 20(2), pages 6-14.
    2. Della Giusta, Marina & Vukadinovic-Greetham, Danica & Jaworska, Sylvia, 2018. "Tweeting Economists: Antisocial in the socials?," MPRA Paper 89527, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    economic opinion; policy; economic journalism; text analysis; economic ontology;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods


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