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David Stromberg, Stockholm U. Print
Tuesday, 04 October 2016, 14:00 - 15:15

David Stromberg, Stockholm University

The Determinants of Media Bias in China

Abstract: This paper provides systematic evidence on the determinants of media bias in China. Based on the content of 110 mainstream newspapers in China during 1998-2010, we construct a novel measure of media bias to capture the politico-economic trade-off of Chinese newspapers. We find that newspapers in regions with larger advertising markets are less biased, while those in regions where local governments have higher valuation of political bias are more biased. We show that the growth of advertising market reduces readers’ exposure to media bias primarily through the entry of commercial newspapers but it has little impact on media bias of existing newspapers. Furthermore, we explore a reform that forced massive exits of newspapers to estimate the causal effect of competition on media bias. Based on the entry pattern of newspapers, we estimate the economic cost of relaxing media control. Overall, our empirical findings are consistent with a model of competition between media owners who have a politico-economic dual goal. 

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