Competition, multimarket contact, and quality of local newspaper coverage
This project aim is to answer the question of what the optimal level of competition for high news quality is.
Access to quality news coverage is important for individual and collective decision making. If citizens are poorly informed or misinformed, democratic processes may be undermined, as current debates about fake news and the dissemination of conspiracy theories illustrate.
Previous evidence suggests that market forces have a strong influence on the quality of news coverage, but evidence of causal effects of competition between media companies on their news quality is very scarce. We address this research gap in three ways:
- We construct a large-scale, content-based measure of the quality of Swedish newspaper coverage between 2014 and 2022.
- We investigate how news quality is related to different forms of market structure and market overlaps between newspaper companies
- We compile causal evidence of the effects of newspaper consolidation on news quality in Sweden.
Overall, we aim to answer the question of what the optimal level of competition for high news quality is. The project is therefore highly relevant for competition authorities and media regulators, but our findings will also be of interest to other stakeholders, including readers, politicians, and media companies.
Project duration: : 2023 – 2025
Project financier: Swedish Competition Authority