The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics

Jesse Shapiro (University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

September 8, 2009, 11:00–12:30


Room MF323

Economic Theory Seminar


We use new data on entries and exits of US daily newspapers from 1869 to 2004 to estimate effects on political participation, party vote shares, and electoral competitiveness. Our identification strategy exploits the precise timing of these events and allows for the possibility of confounding trends. We find that newspapers have a robust positive effect on political participation, with one additional newspaper increasing voter turnout by 0:4 percentage points. Newspaper competition is not a key driver of turnout: our effect is driven mainly by the first newspaper in a market, and the effect of a second or third paper is significantly smaller. We find no persuasive effects of partisan newspapers on party vote shares, with confidence intervals that rule out even moderate-sized effects. We find no evidence that newspapers increase electoral competitiveness.evidence that newspapers increase electoral competitiveness. Keywords: newspapers, turnout, persuasion, political competition

JEL codes

  • D72: Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
  • L82: Entertainment • Media
  • N81: U.S. • Canada: Pre-1913


Jesse Shapiro (University of Chicago Booth School of Business), The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics, Economic Theory Seminar, Toulouse: TSE, September 8, 2009, 11:00–12:30, room MF323.