IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Do Ads Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media

  • Jonathan Reuter

    (University of Oregon. Lundquist College of Business)

  • Eric Zitzewitz

    (Stanford GSB)

We use mutual fund recommendations to test whether editorial content is independent from advertisers’ influence in the financial media. We find that major personal finance magazines (Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and SmartMoney) are more likely to recommend funds from families that have advertised within their pages in the past, controlling for fund characteristics like expenses, past returns and the overall levels of advertising. We find little evidence of a similar relationship for mentions in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Positive media mentions in both newspapers and magazines are associated with significant future inflows into the fund while advertising expenditures are not. Therefore, if we interpret our coefficients causally, a large share of the benefit of advertising in our sample of personal finance magazines comes via the apparent content bias. The welfare implications of this apparent bias are unclear, however, since our tests suggest that bias does not directly lead publications to recommend funds with significantly lower future returns than they might have recommended in the absence of any bias. In selecting funds to recommend, magazines overweight past returns relative to expenses, and as a group their recommendations do not outperform even an equal- weighted average of their peers. Nevertheless, this approach leaves magazines with large numbers of funds with high past returns from which to select, and so bias towards advertisers can be accommodated without significantly reducing readers’ future returns. Interestingly, the recommendations of Consumer Reports, which does not accept advertising, have future returns comparable to or below those of the publications which accept do advertising.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/fin/papers/0501/0501003.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Finance with number 0501003.

as
in new window

Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 03 Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0501003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 44
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  2. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  3. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Market for News," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1031-1053, September.
  4. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Are Some Mutual Fund Managers Better Than Others? Cross-Sectional Patterns in Behavior and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 875-899, 06.
  5. Judith A. Chevalier & Glenn D. Ellison, 1995. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," NBER Working Papers 5234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Working Papers 834, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Jonathan B. Berk & Richard C. Green, 2004. "Mutual Fund Flows and Performance in Rational Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1269-1295, December.
  8. Blake, Christopher R. & Morey, Matthew R., 2000. "Morningstar Ratings and Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 451-483, September.
  9. Sendhil Mullainathan & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Media Bias," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1981, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Erik R. Sirri & Peter Tufano, 1998. "Costly Search and Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1589-1622, October.
  11. Jeffrey Milyo & Tim Groseclose, 2005. "A Measure of Media Bias," Working Papers 0501, Department of Economics, University of Missouri, revised 25 Aug 2005.
  12. Michaely, Roni & Womack, Kent L, 1999. "Conflict of Interest and the Credibility of Underwriter Analyst Recommendations," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 653-86.
  13. Dyck, Alexander & Zingales, Luigi, 2002. "The Corporate Governance Role of the Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 3630, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Guercio, Diane Del & Tkac, Paula A., 2008. "Star Power: The Effect of Monrningstar Ratings on Mutual Fund Flow," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 907-936, December.
  15. Desai, Hemang & Jain, Prem C, 1995. " An Analysis of the Recommendations of the "Superstar" Money Managers at Barron's Annual Roundtable," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1257-73, September.
  16. Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and Its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(1), pages 67-99, 03.
  17. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  18. Lisa George & Joel Waldfogel, 2003. "Who Affects Whom in Daily Newspaper Markets?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 765-784, August.
  19. Barber, Brad M. & Loeffler, Douglas, 1993. "The “Dartboard” Column: Second-Hand Information and Price Pressure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 273-284, June.
  20. David A. Reinstein & Christopher M. Snyder, 2005. "THE INFLUENCE OF EXPERT REVIEWS ON CONSUMER DEMAND FOR EXPERIENCE GOODS: A CASE STUDY OF MOVIE CRITICS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 27-51, 03.
  21. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  22. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
  23. Ippolito, Richard A, 1992. "Consumer Reaction to Measures of Poor Quality: Evidence from the Mutual Fund Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 45-70, April.
  24. Prem C. Jain & Joanna Shuang Wu, 2000. "Truth in Mutual Fund Advertising: Evidence on Future Performance and Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 937-958, 04.
  25. Baron, David P., 2003. "Competing for the Public through the News Media," Research Papers 1808, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  26. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
  27. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0501003. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.