Title: A Spatial Theory of News Consumption and Electoral Competition
Reference Number: 1117
Publication Date: March 2005
JEL Classifcation: D72, L82

Jimmy Chan
Johns Hopkins University

Wing Suen
The University of Hong Kong

This paper introduces a model in which rational voters select news sources with ideological positions similar to their own. We find that extreme media outlets do not influence political outcomes, and that new entry always makes party policies more centrist. In an optimal media, diversity of viewpoints is more important than unbiased reporting. A slightly partisan media outlet, which is trusted by the supporters of a party, is more effective than a completely centrist one in inducing the party to adopt less partisan policies. In a commercial media market, voter welfare is typically higher under duopoly than under monopoly.

Key words: media bias, commercial media, voter welfare

Last modified: 03/08/2005