Meet the Press: How Voters and Politicians Respond to Newspaper Entry and Exit

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics - 6 (2014), 159-188

joint with Francesco Drago and Francesco Sobbrio

This paper uses an original dataset covering the presence of local news in medium-large Italian cities in the period 1993–2010 to evaluate the effects of newspaper entry and exit on electoral participation, political selection, and government efficiency. Exploiting discrete changes in the number of newspapers, we show that newspaper entry increases turnout in municipal elections, the reelection probability of the incumbent mayor, and the efficiency of the municipal government. We do not find any effect on the selection of politicians. Competition plays a relevant role, as the effects are not limited to the first newspaper entry.