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Partisan bias in economic news: evidence on the agenda-setting behavior of U.S. newspapers

Larcinese, Valentino ORCID: 0000-0002-7780-3093, Puglisi, Riccardo and Snyder, Jr., James M. (2011) Partisan bias in economic news: evidence on the agenda-setting behavior of U.S. newspapers. Journal of Public Economics, 95 (9-10). pp. 1178-1189. ISSN 0047-2727

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.04.006


We study the agenda-setting political behavior of a large sample of U.S. newspapers during the 1996-2005 period. Our purpose is to examine the intensity of coverage of economic issues as a function of the underlying economic conditions and the political affiliation of the incumbent president, focusing on unemployment, inflation, the federal budget and the trade deficit. We investigate whether there is any significant correlation between the endorsement policy of newspapers, and the differential coverage of bad/good economic news as a function of the president's political affiliation. We find evidence that newspapers with pro-Democratic endorsement pattern systematically give more coverage to high unemployment when the incumbent president is a Republican than when the president is Democratic, compared to newspapers with pro-Republican endorsement pattern. This result is robust to controlling for the partisanship of readers. We find similar but less robust results for the trade deficit. We also find some evidence that newspapers cater to the partisan tastes of readers in the coverage of the budget deficit. We find no evidence of a partisan bias - or at least of a bias that is correlated with the endorsement or reader partisanship - for stories on inflation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Elsevier
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2011 17:02
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2024 19:39

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