Slanted and Enchanted

Sidenote: Just to let you know, if you’re perceptive fan, my favorite Pavement album is Terror Twilight =].

James Hamilton has a fairly odd blog post (at least for him) about a new study by University of Chicago economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro. Here is the abstract of that paper:

We construct a new index of media slant that measures whether a news outlet’s language is more similar to a congressional Republican or Democrat. We apply the measure to study the market forces that determine political content in the news. We estimate a model of newspaper demand that incorporates slant explicitly, estimate the slant that would be chosen if newspapers independently maximized their own profits, and compare these ideal points with firms’ actual choices. Our analysis confirms an economically significant demand for news slanted toward one’s own political ideology. Firms respond strongly to consumer preferences, which account for roughly 20 percent of the variation in measured slant in our sample. By contrast, the identity of a newspaper’s owner explains far less of the variation in slant, and we find little evidence that media conglomerates homogenize news to minimize fixed costs in the production of content.

The reason it is so strange for James Hamilton is because of the quote at the end of the piece, but I’ll let you make the jump to read it ;].


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