Ownership ties, conflicts of interest and the tone of news

11 April 2019
Versione stampabile

Venue: Seminar Room, Department of Economics and Management, via Inama 5 - Trento

Time: 2 PM



In this paper we investigate the tone used by newspapers in reporting information on a company which is in a conflict of interest regarding ownership ties with the publishing firm. We use Italy as an empirical setting, a country characterized by a high ownership of newspapers controlled by nationally-dominant industrial groups. Based on a sample of about 123,000 articles we document that newspapers produce a significantly smaller number of negative and uncertain words for firms with a conflict of interest. We also document that the slant increases with the magnitude of the ownership stake and decreases with the newspaper’s reputation.

The paper is co-authored with Marco Bigelli (University of Bologna) and Carlo Raimondo (University of Lugano)