The Effect Of Newspaper Entry And Exit On Electoral Politics

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Executive Summary

The authors 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. The identification strategy exploits the precise timing of these events and allows for the possibility of confounding trends. They find that newspapers have a robust positive effect on political participation, with one additional newspaper increasing both presidential and congressional turnout by approximately 0.3 percentage points. Newspaper competition is not a key driver of turnout: the effect is driven mainly by the first newspaper in a market, and the effect of a second or third paper is significantly smaller.

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