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Media bias in financial newspapers: evidence from early twentieth-century France

Vincent Bignon () and Antonio Miscio

European Review of Economic History, 2010, vol. 14, issue 3, 383-432

Abstract: The financial market was well developed in France in the years before World War I, and there were many newspapers that provided information to investors. Yet commentators at the time faulted the financial press for inaccuracy and biases, which they linked to the existence of payments made by companies for coverage in the editorial section. This article tests whether the payment scheme induced a systematic bias in the coverage of companies listed on the Paris stock exchanges by newspapers. The results show that, although firms' media coverage was affected, the performance of firms actually touted by the press was good. Thus, the media bias can also be explained by newspapers choosing the companies' exposures according to their editorial policy.

Date: 2010
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