Monday, March 1, 2010

Conspiracy theorists are not going to like this one

More precisely, by conspiracy theorists I mean people who have been arguing that the Bush and Sarkozy administrations had been using their connections with media barons to influence the public opinion and thus, voters (Let's leave Berlusconi and Putin out of this...).

James Hamilton over at Econbrowser Menzie Chinn reports on a recent study by University of Chicago professors Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro, who use standard econometric methods (which is why this subject is not too far away from the usual posts on this blog) to explain what drives a newspaper's political orientation. Two main conclusions: a paper's political orientation is very correlated to "the political orientation of people living within the paper's market", and "the politics of the paper's owner seem to matter much less". Hamilton Chinn continues:
Gentzkow and Shapiro conclude that papers to some degree are just giving their readers what the readers want so as to maximize the newspapers' profits.
The full study is here.

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