Business Economics and Public Policy Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

2-1-2015

Publication Source

Journal of the European Economic Association

Volume

13

Issue

1

Start Page

29

Last Page

61

DOI

10.1111/jeea.12119

Abstract

Using data from 1869 to 1928, we estimate the effect of party control of state governments on the entry, exit, circulation, prices, number of pages, and content of Republican and Democratic daily newspapers. We exploit changes over time in party control of the governorship and state legislatures in a differences-in-differences design. We exploit close gubernatorial elections and state legislatures with small majorities in a parallel regression-discontinuity design. Neither method reveals evidence that the party in power affects the partisan composition of the press. Our confidence intervals rule out modest effects, and we find little evidence of incumbent party influence even in times and places with high political stakes or low commercial stakes. The one exception is the Reconstruction South, an episode that we discuss in detail.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of the European Economic Association following peer review. The version of record Matthew Gentzkow, Nathan Petek, Jesse M. Shapiro, Michael Sinkinson; Do Newspapers Serve the State? Incumbent Party Influence on the US Press, 1869–1928, Journal of the European Economic Association, Volume 13, Issue 1, 1 February 2015, Pages 29–61 is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1111/jeea.12119

Keywords

political processes: rent-seeking, lobbying, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior, canada: pre-1913, entertainment, media

Embargo Date

2-1-2017

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Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.