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Media Competition, Information Provision and Political Participation

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Julia Cagé

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of increased media competition on the quantity and quality of news provided and, ultimately, changes in political participation. Drawing from the literature on vertical product differentiation to model the production choices of newspapers, I show how an increase in the number of newspapers can decrease both the quantity and quality of news provided. I build a new county-level panel dataset of local newspaper presence, newspapers' costs and revenues and political turnout in France, from 1945 to 2012. I estimate the effect of newspaper entry by comparing counties that experience entry to similar counties in the same years that do not. These counties exhibit similar trends prior to newspaper entry, but newspaper entry then leads to substantial declines in the total number of journalists. More newspapers are also associated with fewer news articles and lower hard news provision. These effects are concentrated in counties with homogeneous populations, as predicted by the model, with little impact on counties with heterogeneous populations. Newspaper entry, and the associated decline in information provision, is ultimately found to decrease voter turnout.
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hal-03602440 , version 1 (09-03-2022)

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Julia Cagé. Media Competition, Information Provision and Political Participation. 2014. ⟨hal-03602440⟩
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